Saturday, October 22, 2016

Boo! A Madea Halloween

1.5/4

Starring: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Diamond White, Liza Koshy, Yousef Erakat

Rated PG-13 for Drug Use and References, Suggestive Content, Language, Some Horror Images and Thematic Material

I don't get Madea.  The concept of a politically-incorrect, trash talking granny is funny, but the reality is more annoying than amusing.  Yet, her movies continue to bring in big bucks, which has made Tyler Perry a wealthy man.  Clearly his movies strike a chord with his target audience, which I guess doesn't include me.

Brian (Perry) has a problem.  His daughter Tiffany (White) has been invited to a Halloween party hosted by a local fraternity.  Naturally, being that she's 17, Brian doesn't want her to go, but try telling any 17 year old to do anything.  Making matters worse is that he has to leave for the weekend on business, and isn't buying the innocent act from Tiffany and her friend Aday (Koshy).  So he asks his aunt Madea (Perry) to come over to keep an eye on her.  Hilarity ensues.  At least in theory.

The problem with the movie is two-fold: it's not funny and it's not interesting.  The humor has no edge.  Are elderly women stoned on (legal) pot funny?  What about old people swearing?  Didn't thing so.  Those things can be funny, but Tyler Perry has little understanding of comic timing or writing.  The jokes are by and large lame and many that could be funny flop because of bad execution.  Some, such as the bits with the frat boys questioning Madea's boobs are so tasteless that I was wondering what Perry was thinking.

As is often the case with far too many comedies these days, scenes and situations are stretched far beyond the limit where they could be conceivably be laugh-inducing.  It's not as bad as anything coming from Seth Rogen or Nicholas Stoller, but that "Neighbors 2" came to mind is enough of an insult anyway.

The acting is, for the most part, flat.  Only the girls and Cassi Davis make a positive impression.  They'd have been better served by a better written screenplay.  Cassi Davis, as the elderly bitty who proudly shows off her pot prescription, is funny enough to be a scene-stealer, but she's given so little to work with.

Perry saves the best for last.  Brian and Madea decide to teach Tiffany a lesson for her behavior.  Two, actually.  But they're more cruel than funny.  What they do to her is downright sadistic.  Manipulating someone's emotions like that isn't "tough love."  It's sick.  Playing this for laughs is just demented.

I won't deny that I laughed from time to time.  There's one scene where a clown is punched that's very funny and the sight of Madea running from zombies while repeating "Save me, Jesus" is as amusing as it sounds.  But there are some very wide gaps between the moments that work (none of which are all that special) that are painful to endure.  Perry, who is famous for being a quick worker, shot this film in six days.  I believe that.  It feels like it was rushed through production.  More time and thought would have helped.  A lot.

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