I Can Do Bad All by Myself (film)

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I Can Do Bad All by Myself
I can do bad all by myself ver3.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTyler Perry
Produced byTyler Perry
Reuben Can
Written byTyler Perry
Music byAaron Zigman
CinematographyAlexander Gruszynski
Edited byMaysie Hoy
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • September 11, 2009 (2009-09-11)
Running time
113 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$19 million[1]
Box office$51.7 million[2]

I Can Do Bad All by Myself is a 2009 romantic musical comedy-drama film which was released on September 11, 2009. The film was directed, produced, and written by Tyler Perry,[3] who also makes an appearance in the film as his signature character Madea.[4] Although the film and play share the same title, the film is not an adaptation of Perry's play of the same name; the two works have different storylines.


The film opens with April (Taraji P. Henson), a self-centered, alcoholic singer, performing at a nightclub where she works. On the other side of town, Madea (Tyler Perry) and Joe Simmons (Perry) catch Jennifer (Hope Olaidè Wilson), Manny (Kwesi Boakye), and Byron (Freddy Siglar) breaking into their house. After hearing the children’s troubles, Madea welcomes and feeds them. Manny tells Madea that they’re living with their grandmother Rose, whom they haven't seen in four days and their mother is deceased. They tell her that their only other relative is their Aunt April.

April shares her home with her shady boyfriend, Randy (Brian White), who’s married with children. The next morning, Madea brings the kids to April's house, but April doesn’t want to be bothered. Meanwhile, Pastor Brian (Marvin Winans) sends a Colombian immigrant named Sandino (Adam Rodríguez) to her house for work and a place to stay. April puts Sandino in her basement and wants to lock him down there because she doesn't know him that well. While working around the house, Sandino surprises April by cleaning himself up. When Randy arrives, he sees April with the kids and Sandino and heckles him while making subtle advances at Jennifer.

Shortly afterward, Pastor Brian and Wilma (Gladys Knight), a church member, come to inform April that her mother Rose died from a fatal brain aneurysm while riding on a city bus. April is devastated by the news and seeks comfort from Randy; however, he is sleeping and shrugs her off. Later, Sandino comforts April as she tells him about her mother's death and the last time she spoke with her. Shortly afterwards Jennifer, Manny, and Byron return to April's after searching for their grandmother and April dejectedly tells them the news.

Depressed, Jennifer goes to Madea wanting to know how to pray. However, Madea, inexperienced with prayer, attempts to instruct her in a scene that plays out comically. The same night, Tanya (Mary J. Blige), the nightclub bartender, sings "I Can Do Bad". Before singing the song, Tanya strongly confronts April about her attitude. She says that April must change her selfish ways and think about the safety of Byron, Manny and Jennifer. Tanya declares she loves April but says she can’t help her unless she helps herself.

Over time, Sandino and April become good friends, and Sandino fixes a ruined bedroom in her house. This makes Manny and Byron happy, but upsets Jennifer, who feels April does not want them there. While on a date, Sandino tells April he doesn't understand why she is with Randy and asks if she loves Randy. He tells her what true love is to him. One Sunday morning, Sandino eagerly knocks on April's bedroom door to get April ready for church, but Randy threatens to kill Sandino if he continues to spend time with April.

Late the next night, Manny needs his insulin shot, and Jennifer goes to the kitchen to get it. As she prepares the shot, Randy approaches and attempts to rape her, but Sandino fights him off. April walks in on the fight and Randy claims Jennifer offered him sex for money. April claims to believe him and sends Randy to take a bath. When he is in the tub, April threatens to electrocute him with a plugged-in radio. Sandino arrives and tries to stop her, but April is enraged, as she explains that she was sexually abused by her step-father, who then lied about it to her mother, thus causing April to lose her faith in the people that cared about her. After saying does he want her to put it down twice, she drops the plugged-in radio into the water, giving Randy a severe electric shock. Randy barely jumps out just in time and Sandino orders him to leave.

April goes to the bar for a drink and blames herself for not seeing the signs. Sandino tries to stop her from drinking, but she pushes him away. She then asks Sandino if he is a child molester, because of all the attention he gives the children. Sandino tells April of his childhood as a child laborer and explains that he loves the children so much because he sees himself in them. Feeling hurt at her unfair accusations, Sandino says farewell to the children and leaves.

Jennifer and April begin to get along and connect after April tells Jennifer about her bad experience as a child. Jennifer tells her that she should recognize Sandino as a good man. Eventually, Sandino returns and April apologizes to him and admits that she loves him like a friend. Sandino tells her that she can't love anyone until she learns to love herself. He tells April that he is in love with her but he wants April to love him back the same way he loves her. He shows her by kissing her.

Eventually, April and Sandino get married. April and Sandino then hold a block party for their reception with Tanya singing "Good Woman Down", dedicated to April, then the new couple is shown embracing and sharing a passionate kiss.


Differences from the stage play[edit]

  • Tyler Perry's famous characters, Mr. Brown and Cora, had main roles in the stage play; they are absent in the film. In the film, several characters refer to Cora, but she is not seen; Mr. Brown is neither seen nor mentioned.
  • The original plot (in the stage play) focused on two sisters feuding because Maylee is engaged to her sister Vianne's ex-husband, Anthony, and Anthony is holding her back from her parental responsibilities. In the film, April's sister is a drug addict and thief who neglected her children and is deceased. Her mother assumed custody of the children but has recently disappeared without explanation, and circumstances have forced April to reluctantly take her niece and nephews in.
  • The stage play characters Vianne, Keisha, Bobby, Maylee, and Anthony do not exist in the film.


The film features 13 songs,[5] including two new songs by Blige. Perry was not able to produce a soundtrack album for the film due to the various record companies involved.

  • "Good Woman Down" (Robert F. Aries, Blige, Sean Garrett, Freddie Jackson, Meli'sa Morgan) – Mary J. Blige
  • "I Can Do Bad" (Blige, Chuck Harmon, Shaffer Smith) – Mary J. Blige
  • "Playboy" (Michael Akinlabi, Tasha Schumann) – Candy Coated Killahz
  • "Contagious" (Xavier Dphrepaulezz) – Chocolate Butterfly
  • "H.D.Y." (Ronnie Garrett, Herman (Pnut) Johnson) – Club Indigo Band
  • "Indigo Blues" (Garrett, Johnson) – Club Indigo Band
  • "Lovers Heat" (Garrett, Johnson) – Club Indigo Band
  • "Tears of Pain" (Foster) – Ruthie Foster
  • "Rock Steady" (Aretha Franklin) – Cheryl Pepsii Riley
  • "The Need to Be" (Jim Weatherly) – Gladys Knight
  • "Just Don't Wanna Know/Over It Now" (Winans) – Gladys Knight and Marvin L. Winans
  • "Oh Lord I Want You to Help Me" (Traditional, arranged by Jerome Chambers & Edward O'Neal) – Cheryl Pepsii Riley & Marvin L. Winans


Critical reaction[edit]

The film has received generally positive reviews from critics, making it Perry's most acclaimed film to date.[6] Rotten Tomatoes reported that 61% of critics gave positive reviews based on 44 reviews with an average score of 5.87/10, giving it a "Fresh" rating, with the general consensus being though somewhat formulaic and predictable, Perry succeeds in mixing broad humor with sincere sentimentality to palatable effect.[7] By comparison, Metacritic gave the film a 55% approval rating of critics based on 13 reviews.[6]


  1. ^ http://www.the-numbers.com/movie/I-Can-Do-Bad-All-By-Myself#tab=summary
  2. ^ "I Can Do Bad All By Myself (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  3. ^ "I Can Do Bad All By Myself". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  4. ^ Perry, Tyler. "Meet the Browns starts March 21st". Archived from the original on March 4, 2011. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
  5. ^ Internet Movie Database, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1385912/soundtrack
  6. ^ a b "I Can Do Bad All By Myself (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  7. ^ "I Can Do Bad All By Myself Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2015-02-17.

External links[edit]