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I Can Do Bad All by Myself (2009)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 11 September 2009 (USA)
2:24 | Trailer

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When Madea catches sixteen-year-old Jennifer and her two younger brothers looting her home, she decides to take matters into her own hands and delivers the young delinquents to the only ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (play)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Madea / Joe
... April
... Sandino
... Randy
... Jennifer
... Manny
... Byron
... Wilma
... Tanya
... Pastor Brian
... Man #1
... Miller
... Mr. Bradley
... Ms. Sullivan
Joseph Taylor ... Announcer


When Madea catches sixteen-year-old Jennifer and her two younger brothers looting her home, she decides to take matters into her own hands and delivers the young delinquents to the only relative they have: their aunt April. A heavy-drinking nightclub singer who lives off of Randy, her married boyfriend, April wants nothing to do with the kids. But her attitude begins to change when Sandino, a handsome Columbian immigrant looking for work, moves into April's basement room. Making amends for his own troubled past, Sandino challenges April to open her heart. And April soon realizes she must make the biggest choice of her life: between her old ways with Randy and the new possibilities of family, faith ... and even true love. Written by Lionsgate

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Hope is closer than you think.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving a sexual assault on a minor, violence, drug references and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Lionsgate [United States]



Release Date:

11 September 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself  »


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,446,785, 13 September 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Adam Rodriguez and Taraji P. Henson also played an on-screen couple on the TV series "Empire". See more »


When Mary J Blige begins singing the title song she has on a red dress but after the scene returns from a flashback/cutover from Taraji P Henson, Mary is wearing a black and white beaded dress. See more »


Joe: Mabel? What the hell wrong with you? You don't be coming...
Madea: Wake the Hell up.
Joe: You about to give me a heart attack.You too ugly to be waking somebody up in the middle of night, I told you that.You gotta ease that ugly up on people. You can't just show it to them all at once.
See more »


Follows Madea Goes to Jail (2006) See more »


Indigo Blues
Written by Ronnie Garrett and Herman (Pnut) Johnson
Performed by Club Indigo Band
Published by My TY PE Music Publishing and Typee Music
Courtesy of Tyler Perry Studios
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Beautiful nuanced performances
23 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

The person who called this drivel never saw the film, guaranteed. The actors in this film are stunning, and the story is touching and real. Oscar nominated Taraji P. Henson not only carries the dramatic arc of the main character's transformation, she also kicks butt in her singing performance as self-centered club singer April. Mary J. Blige and Gladys Knight and Marvin Winans all deliver the goods in their acting and then blow the roof off with their singing performances.

And Hope Olaide Wilson's performance as 16 year old toughie Jennifer is simply remarkable. You can't quite grasp how remarkable it is until you watch an interview with her off camera and realize how completely and totally her character was invented. Totally convincing as the unwanted daughter of an American crack addict, with a nasty-ass inner city attitude and a volcano of anger inside, it's mind boggling to find out afterwards she is a luminous, joyful young woman who was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and who naturally speaks with a lilting British accent. I will take bets on this... you will see her accepting an Academy Award one day. Absolutely brilliant. Like Meryl Streep / Kate Blanchett / Nicole Kidman

There are 6 full musical performances in this film, by Henson, Blige, Knight, and Winans, and they are better integrated into the story, more organically placed and more suited to the story than in any film I can recall. So it's not a "musical" per se, but a drama with humor and musical performances incorporated. And it works well.

I had never seen a "Madea" film before, nor anything of Tyler Perry's. To be honest, if I had known Madea was in the film I might have missed this gem, because I probably would not have watched it. I'm not into genre films or drag queen humor. I watched it because of the cast list. But although Madea appears in the film, it's as a supporting character. Fortunately. Because the Madea scenes are the weakest overall, and kind of rubbed me the wrong way in the context of the more naturalistic style of the rest of the film. Still, even Shakespeare used buffoonish clowns at various times to move the action along, so I think we can forgive Tyler Perry for boosting the box office appeal with a proved draw.

So I would not call this a Madea movie, nor would I label it an African American movie. Those labels are deceptively limiting. It's much bigger than you might expect. It is a very effective and entertaining drama (with music and comedy) that touches deeply on the human condition, and affirms the transformative power of love... both romantic and spiritual love. And it deserves a wider audience. And better reviews than someone who hasn't actually seen the film would give it.

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