5.4/10
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The Family That Preys (2008)

PG-13 | | Drama | 12 September 2008 (USA)
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Two families from different walks of life learn to work together.

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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Pam
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Ben
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Santana Pruitt ...
Christopher
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Robin (as Kaira Whitehead)
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Construction Foreman
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Austin
Johnell J. Easter ...
Customer
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Storyline

Alice Pratt, a hard working Christian woman, raised her two daughters while managing a simple diner of her own. Her snobbish and arrogant daughter Andrea graduated in Economic Science and works in a construction corporation while her sister Pam stayed with Alice and worked in the diner. Andrea is married to construction worker Chris, who works in the same corporation as his wife but dreams of starting up his own business. However she is being unfaithful to him - with their boss William Cartwright. William is the son of Alice's best friend, the wealthy Charlotte Cartwright. While Alice travels with Charlotte on a road trip, the ambition and infidelity of William triggers a series of events that will affect relationships in both families. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every truth begins with a lie. Every dream has a dark side. Every choice has a consequence.... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, sexual references and brief violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,381,218, 14 September 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$37,019,849, 17 October 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfre Woodard will play Taraji Henson's mother in Empire. See more »

Goofs

At the start of the film, it is Andrea's & Chris's wedding day. During the reception Andrea as a conversation with William about still having 5 mo. left of school before she completes her degree. He offers his business card with a possible position with the company. The next scene cuts to 4 years later, where Andrea's & Chris's (or Williams) son is running into the diner, who clearly looks more than 4 years old. See more »

Quotes

Andrea: You better watch your step.
Abby: It is sisters like you that give us all a bad name.
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Soundtracks

Nothin' But Nothin
Written by Scott Hobart
Performed by Rex Hobart & The Misery Boys
Published by Ten Eleven Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Bloodshot Records
By Arrangement with DePugh Music
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User Reviews

 
Typical Perry
13 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

Tyler Perry's back to his old tricks with The Family That Preys - A film that is just as manipulative and as ham-fisted of a melodrama as some of his earlier work. The only saving grace are a pair of performances at the center.

Those performances come from Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard. They play the matriarchs of two very different families who have been friends for the past 30 years. Their characters come from very different worlds. Bates plays Charlotte Cartwright, a wealthy tycoon who is in danger of losing control of her company as her greedy son William (Cole Hauser) plots to slowly get rid of her influence and power in the business. Woodard plays Alice Pratt, a God-fearing middle class woman who runs a local diner, and likes to help the homeless on the side. The two actresses have great chemistry together during their subplot, which concerns them leaving their troubles behind for a little while, and going on a cross country road trip. Their performances are almost enough to make us forget just how poorly they've been written in Perry's screenplay. Take for example the fact that Charlotte seems to suffer from a split personality. Usually when she's around Alice, she's a fun and spirited woman. But whenever she's alone, she comes across as a cold and unfeeling millionaire right out of an 80s prime time soap opera like Dallas. Unfortunately, this won't be the last time I use the word soap opera in this review.

That's because The Family That Preys isn't really about the two women I just mentioned, it's about their intertwined family, and the numerous betrayals, affairs, and other ludicrous overstuffed plots that would be right at home in any afternoon soap. Let's just see how many plots there are. The first concerns Alice's daughter, Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) having an affair with Charlotte's previously mentioned son, William. Andrea's husband, Chris (Rockmond Dunbar), works as a construction worker for William's company, and has no idea about their bedroom meetings behind his back, even though it's painfully obvious to everyone else. Poor Chris comes across as the slowest guy in the world, as he frequently stares the obvious in the face, and chooses to look the other way until the screenplay decides to finally give him a clue. Chris and his best friend on the construction crew, Ben (Tyler Perry), want to start their own construction company, but Ben doesn't know if they should take the chance, despite the urgings of his wife, Pam (Taraji P. Henson), who just happens to be Alice's other daughter. Meanwhile, William's wife, Jillian (KaDee Strickland) is a bit more on the ball than Chris is, and suspects her husband's affair. Not only that, there's another woman worked into the story named Abby (Robin Givens) who has just been hired to the company by Charlotte, much to the anger of William, since he wanted the position and is upset that his mom didn't give it to him.

All this, and I still haven't mentioned the mysterious homeless person (Sebastian Siegel) whom Alice helps out, and eventually ends up playing a part in the plot. There's also friction between Charlotte and William's wife, because Charlotte never approved of her, although the movie doesn't go very deep into this. And yes, there's also that previously mentioned road trip between Charlotte and Alice as they go on a trip of self discovery, while stopping at various cowboy bars and male strip joints along the way. (Because this is a Tyler Perry movie, Charlotte also stops to get baptized at one point.) Watching this movie, you can almost picture Tyler Perry writing this screenplay after a marathon viewing of his daytime TV soaps. The writing, direction, and storytelling is all on the same level here. He does his best to juggle the film's various plots, but they never come together. It's jarring the way the movie constantly jumps between its numerous characters and plots. It seems that Perry had a hard time squeezing them all in, as some get more attention than others. The whole affair situation between William and Andrea gets the most attention, but even that never seems to truly build anywhere. The characters just keep on going through the same motions over and over, while Andrea's husband Chris begins to resemble an unintentional running gag with how clueless he is about everything.

The only aspect of the film that does work are the scenes between Bates and Woodard, and that's more due to their screen presence than the material the film gives them. If the movie had trimmed away all lamebrained corporate backstabbing and affairs and just centered on them, I may have been able to forgive the sometimes dopey dialogue between them, and the last minute revelation about Bates' character that cries out of desperation. The Family That Preys obviously wants to tackle some heavy issues, but everything's been written in Perry's trademark over the top style. This makes it hard to identify with just about anyone who walks into the frame of the camera. The only character who does come across as a genuine human is the one Perry has written for himself, and unfortunately, he plays a minor role in everything. Given his somewhat genuine performance here, it's hard to believe that this is the same guy who dresses in drag and a fat suit for his most famous portrayal. Perry fans will be glad to know that his Madea character will be back in his next film, Madea Goes to Jail. Everyone else has been warned.


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