Marital infidelity can break lives, break hearts, and break families—as Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor seeks to convey. The PG-13 film tells the story of a young couple—Brice (Lance Gross) and Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell)—who grow up together, fall in love, and get married at a young age.
Deeply in love, they move to Washington, D.C., and begin life together. While he works to establish himself as a pharmacist in a small drug store and she plugs away as a marriage counselor for a high-end matchmaking service, life sets in with its frustrations and drudgery. Their dreams don’t materialize as quickly as they’d hoped, particularly for Judith, who’s dissatisfied with the banality of her job and the lack of attention from her husband.
He’s so busy pouring himself into work that he has little energy for much else—including his wife. He loves her dearly, but forgets to show it in tangible ways, like remembering her birthday or validating her talents, personality, and beauty. These seemingly small sins of omission create the perfect opportunity for temptation.
In steps the silver-tongued seducer, Harley (Robbie Jones)—a social media millionaire and potential investor in the matchmaking service where Judith works. They begin spending long hours together to create an online dating rubric. He flatters her, sends her roses, and flies her to New Orleans on his private jet to pitch their program to his board of directors. With minimal resistance, Judith walks right into adultery.
The story gets a bit surprising at that point, showing the consequences of sin to be uncomfortably far reaching. This plot twist redeems Perry’s otherwise predictable morality tale.
Despite an unoriginal and melodramatic story, mediocre acting, and some steamy scenes and drug use, the film holds merit for no other reason than it affirms marriage and the immutable boundaries of God’s law, affirmations that are rare in Hollywood.