The L.A. Times profiles writer-director David E. Talbert, whose debut film, First Sunday, comes out January 11. He's being called "the next Tyler Perry" all over Hollywood, and though Talbert bristles at the comparison a bit, it certainly seems apt. Both filmmakers are veteran playwrights whose work taps into the urban theater market. Both offer slice-of-life dramedies featuring characters who are relatable and recognizable to mainstream, middle-class black audiences. And both are almost totally ignored by mainstream media, which is why it's nice that the Times is profiling Talbert now, and not in two weeks after his movie's made $30 million and beaten 27 Dresses at the box office.
We're as guilty as anyone else of ignoring Talbert, since before reading this article we had not thought about First Sunday at all except, upon seeing the ads featuring Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan as hapless criminals, to idly wonder if there was really a market out there for another sequel to Friday, Next Friday, and Friday After Next. But it turns out we were wrong! The movie is actually a dramedy about two petty criminals who have the bright idea to rob a church. As the Times puts it, "Hilarity, hard truths and important realizations about personal accountability ensue." We got kind of interested in the movie, and in Talbert, until we read the profile's kicker: "I want to be the black Neil Simon," Talbert says, and our heart sank. Couldn't he at least try to be the black Judd Apatow?