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Why review?

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Voiced by Jon Stewart -- don't cry.
At the New York Post, Lou Lumenick writes about the fact that neither Tyler Perry‘s "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" sequel "Madea’s Family Reunion" nor Euro CGI kiddie flick "Doogal" are going to be screened for critics (though Slant‘s superhuman Ed Gonzalez has managed to review it despite this, by picking up the UK version, which has a different cast providing voices). "That makes eight so far this year, compared with seven in all of 2005, by The Post‘s count," Lumenick muses.

"We are not going to spend $50,000 for the privilege of negative reviews for a film that isn’t going to be affected by them," Tom Ortenberg, president of "Madea" distributor Lionsgate, told The Post.

If ever there was a review-proof film, "Diary" was it. At Salon, Russell Scott Smith outlines the phenomenon that is Tyler Perry, include the backlash some of the critics who panned it faced from Perry’s fiercely loyal fanbase:

"These people were desperate to be spoken to," says Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris. "When something came along that was even remotely relevant, they threw all their weight behind it, even though it was a shittily made movie." Morris didn’t like "Diary." "Blows to the head are delivered with more subtlety," he wrote in his review. He also happens to be African-American, but as soon as his review came out, he says, he got phone calls and e-mails from Perry fans who accused him of being white — and a racist at that. The fans were even harsher when they knew for sure that the critic was white. [Roger] Ebert, who is married to an African-American woman and has long been a champion for black cinema, received so much angry e-mail and became such a lightning rod because of his negative "Diary" review that Perry felt compelled, during a visit to Chicago, to plead with his fans to lay off the guy.

Which leads to ledes like the following from Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells (who saw the film at the premiere):

It’s a little beside-the-point for a mildly snobby existentialist white-guy journalist like myself to put down "Madea’s Family Reunion" (Lionsgate, 2.24), Tyler Perry’s God-praising, conservative-values sequel to "Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

It’s a fairly crude and clumsy film, but I don’t think this matters. Because on its own terms and with the right crowd, "Family Reunion" works. I felt it last night at a big splashy premiere screening at Hollywood’s Arclight theatre, and I didn’t say a single snide or contrary word to anyone at the after-party. That would have been impolite. And again, guys like me are so not the point.

The idea of excusing oneself from a real review on the basis of not being the intended audience smacks of condescension, if not, well, cowardice — and since when has a critic, who watches films professionally, ever been the ideal audience for a film (and lord, what kind of film would that be?)? Should reviews of children’s films then be the sole provenance of a gouty, scowling eight-year-old with a light-up pen? Regardless, the idea of "it doesn’t work for me, but I could see how it could for the right people" is ridiculous — no one has any qualms about bashing, say, the latest tweener summer throwaway, which you’d think would fall under the same argument. We don’t like the implication.

Via Movie City News, a study done by Duke, Florida Atlantic and Carnegie Mellon universities finds that, due to the exponential rise in film releases, avoid writing reviews of films they don’t like. Except for the critics who tend to choose to write about the films they hated. Yes.

+ The new Amos ‘n’ Andy? (Salon)
+ Here She Comes! (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Study: Movie Critics Speak Even When They Don’t Utter a Word (Duke News)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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