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Published Sep. 10, 2009

Tyler Perry gets more mileage out of dressing in drag than Dame Edna. Put him in a dress and fat padding as grandmotherly Madea and Perry's fans line up at the box office. - Madea returns in I Can Do Bad All By Myself (PG-13), feisty as ever. She's shocked when her home is burglarized by three juvenile delinquents, and she turns them over to their Aunt April (Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson). April isn't much of a role model, carousing with a married man and clubbing all night long. - Sounds like someone needs a little Madea guidance, which could mean being threatened with a pistol or saved by the Gospel. Perry always mixes religion with racy stuff, like the "sexual assault on a minor, violence, drug references and smoking" that earned I Can Do Bad All By Myself its MPAA rating. - The movie wasn't screened for review, a common practice for Perry's movies, which don't need conventional media coverage. Madea has enough fans to guarantee success.

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Hey, isn't that ... ?

Since it's Taraji P. Henson's birthday Friday (happy 39th!), what better time to celebrate the actor who scored a big role in Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself? She's shown above in a scene from the movie. Not sure if it's technically a starring role - Perry's name is in the title after all - but it's close enough, particularly for someone who's used to supporting roles. So you probably recognize her face . . . but from where?

Baby Boy (2001)

She turns heads as Yvette, the beautiful girlfriend in this John Singleton film.

Hustle & Flow (2005)

As a pregnant prostitute, sweet Shug finds her voice in the Sundance Film Festival standout starring Terrence Howard. She also sings on It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The reason everyone knows how to pronounce her name. She gets her first Oscar nomination for Queenie, Benjamin's motherly caregiver. But she loses the best supporting actress trophy to Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.


She pops up everywhere: Whitney Rome in ABC's Boston Legal, Raina Washington in Lifetime's The Division and Angela Scott on Eli Stone. Plus, she has been a guest star on ER, CSI, House and Strong Medicine, to name a few.

Music video

That's her showing up Jamie Foxx in his video Just Like Me.