So It’s Come to This: A Madea Review

David Hunter, Staff Writer


“Once you go black, you never go back. Once you go old, you grow mold.” This creative pickup line spoken by Joe Simmons (Tyler Perry), is just one of the many outrageous jokes that either hit solidly or miss badly in this patchwork sequel.
Released only a year after its predecessor, Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween, appears to be a film that needed more time on the development floor. For fans of the Madea franchise there are a lot of laughs to be found, but for people unfamiliar to the antics of this tough, elderly black woman, sitting through dull moments can be nauseating.
The movie starts with Tiffany Simmons (Diamond White) greeted by her father Brian (Tyler Perry) at her school. Tiffany is annoyed at her father because it is her eighteenth birthday, and he is still treating her like a child, wearing a birthday hat for the occasion and planning a ‘secret’ party for her that he throws every year. Brian gives Tiffany a present, head phones, which she is unimpressed by. Suddenly, Brian’s ex-wife, Deborah (Taja Simpson), crashes the awkward father-daughter moment in a new car and announces that she bought the car for Tiffany. Tiffany is ecstatic and drives off with her prudish friend Gabriella (Innana Sarkis).
Brian is understandably upset with his ex-wife and starts to argue with her, saying that Tiffany is not responsible enough to own a car. Deborah responds that Brian needs to allow Tiffany room to fail and grow.
There is an attempt at telling a story about a changing father-daughter relationship, but the horror-comedy aspect of the film undermines it. The beginning of the film teases that there is going to be a significant character arc, however, this is thrown aside in favor of horror movie clichés. This does not play well. As a result, whenever the camera is not on a character played by Perry, it is dull and dry as a desert.
Going to Brian’s house, we finally see Madea, again played by Perry, and the other elderly characters. Brian engages in a dialogue with his father, Joe, who says some very interesting things. He pontificates about his early years, where he allegedly was a pimp. He also calls Deborah a ‘ho’ and reminisces about smoking weed. Apparently, you can use the n-word in a PG-13 film, but you have to use ‘mother-trucker’ as a substitute profanity. Madea and the others taunt Brian for buying Tiffany head phones, a small gift compared to the car that Deborah bought her.
This exposition varies between funny and offensive, but it goes on too long. A main issue with this movie is that Madea, the title character, does not even stand up from her chair until thirty minutes into the film. Thirty percent of the film goes by, and Madea does not do anything except sit in a chair.
Meanwhile Tiffany, feeling adventurous, goes to a fraternity house where she indirectly ruined their Halloween party in the last movie. Bizarrely, hazed pledges are seen sucking binkies and wearing pink shirts. The main fraternity members are stock characters, bland and not comical. Tiffany discovers that the Fraternity is having a party at Lake Derrick, a place where adventurous teenagers were murdered for trespassing forty years ago. The worst part is not that the idea of young lovers getting gruesomely killed in horror movies is trite; it is that every time someone says Lake Derrick during the exposition, ‘creepy’ music plays. It is far more annoying than it is scary.
Tiffany, knowing that Brian would not let her go to the party, convinces her mother to let her go, using the ruse of staying at her house as cover. Conveniently, Madea overhears this and tells Brian, who is outraged. Before he can stop Tiffany, she has already left.
So the fraternity trespasses and holds a party. The DJ plays the song ‘Black Beatles’ by Rae Sremmund. The party scene is gratuitous. Leah (Lexy Panterra), Tiffany’s other friend, twerks while wearing a leopard costume.
Once the party dies down, strange things start to occur. A creepy little girl appears along with men wearing gas masks and wielding chainsaws.
Concerned with Tiffany’s safety, Madea drives to Lake Derrick with Joe, Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), and Hattie (Patrice Lovely). Madea was supposed to drop the other three off, but she did not. The three think that Madea is scared, which she denies. This would have been a good opportunity to develop Madea, but it does not go anywhere. The film could have made a good point that even the toughest of us are susceptible to emotions, and we all experience fear sometimes. However, the movie drops this point and moves onto other things.
Uncle Joe, we might as well call him Dirty Grandpa at this point, steals the show by telling the creepy girl to leave at one point, with language that will not be repeated here, and attempting to seduce Leah with the stale pickup line mentioned above. Leah rebukes him by lying about her age, saying that she is seventeen. This is enough to deter Uncle Joe.
The funniest part of the film is when Madea sees a Jason clone emerging from the lake. The look on her face is priceless. She runs across a bridge screaming, “Save me Jesus! Save me Jesus! Save me Jesus!”
The ending is cliché. Without providing too many details, there is a Chekhov moment revealed at the end. Furthermore, we learn that Madea is apparently wanted for credit card fraud and driving without a suspended license. Also, an assortment of other crimes such as attempted murder. I guess that was the payoff for watching Madea not acting like a boss for the entire movie, alluding to former dubious actions instead.
As a parody of horror movies, it is harmless. It will make you laugh a few times. The problem with it is the characters. Everyone not played by Perry, besides Aunt Bam and Hattie, do nothing entertaining or remotely attention grabbing in the entire film. I did not see the first Madea Halloween film, but I can tell you that it is better than this one. To be fair to Perry, a sequel coming out a year after the original is not conductive to cinematic excellence. When one sees the same thing over and over again, it loses its impact. This is the tenth film in the Madea film franchise, and another ‘A Madea Family Funeral’ is coming to theaters in 2018. At this point, it would not be surprising to see a Madea in the White House film made.
Overall, it serves its purpose: A Madea fan will not be disappointed, but the film will not gain acclaim from a general audience.