'Mea Culpa' movie review: Courtroom bummer

It is evident that Perry has watched enough crime thrillers and whodunits on TV, and portions of Mea Culpa seem straight out of a Jordan Peele film.
'Mea Culpa' movie review: Courtroom bummer

In the new Netflix feature Mea Culpa, Trevante Rhodes’s Zyair Malloy calls his representative, Kelly Rowland’s Mea Harper, the best lawyer in town. In response to the comment, Mea says, “It is not like I have a lot of clients.” Sure, even the best lawyers tend to fly under the radar, but in this film, it is difficult to believe that she’s a lawyer at all.

Let us consider what the so-called best lawyer does in Mea Culpa. She tells a judge that the client has the right to choose a legal representative, and the judge says, “Of course, I know that”. Then, she manages to break one of the golden rules of being an attorney. Basically, it is a blessing that she never makes it to court.

Mea also has the “best private investigator in town”. Ron Reaco Lee’s private-eye character at least comes up with enough revelations to help Mea absolve her client of the alleged crime. But, the film never delves into his modus operandi, something that would have been intriguing. Equally elementary is the premise of the film, which requires bare minimum effort from the lawyer and the PI to discover the truth.

Mea culpa is a Latin term that serves as an acknowledgement of one’s mistake. The tagline of the film is that everyone is guilty of something, and one thing Netflix is guilty of is giving this film a platform it dopesn’t deserve.

The writer and director is Tyler Perry, who has set a bit of a schlockmeister reputation for himself. It is evident that Perry has watched enough crime thrillers and whodunits on TV, and portions of Mea Culpa seem straight out of a Jordan Peele film. There are Peele-like undertones of class and ethnicity throughout the film that help explain the preposterous and over-the-top climax. Not many can predict the ending, for it is such a long shot. Is it good for a thriller to have an unpredictable climax? Of course, but equally important is how you reach there, and here, the road is terribly inert and inept.

Movie: Mea Culpa

Director: Tyler Perry

Genre: Thriller

Platform: Netflix

Language: English

Rating: 1.5/5

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