TYLER PERRY   LORETTA DEVINE   BOW WOW   

MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY


I'm usually a fan of Tyler Perry’s house raising Madea character, but after four and a half Madea films, this one being the first not based on one of his plays, I think he has lost the fun of it. It used to be that there was an equal balance of craziness with the Madea character and some good soul food; now, everyone just wants to see Perry acting crazy and he gives it them. Perry has made a killing with his characters and films. His built-in audience guarantees success and, for the first time, I can honestly say it doesn’t look like he is even trying here. Like his other films, it's produced, written and directed by Perry; all the laughs seem forced, and I left more annoyed than uplifted.

As much as Madea (Perry) wants to stay away from her big, crazy family, they need her. While grandma Madea just wants her greasy fast food, her relative Shirley (Devine) is in need of help. Shirley can’t seem to get her dysfunctional family all in the same room to tell them she is dying of cancer. They are all so involved with their own problems; one even disrespects Shirley in front of everyone. So, the ghetto Cadillac has to pay a visit to each sibling and make the kind of demands only Madea makes. With so many questions about who is the father of who, someone is bound to end up on Maury.

The real laughs are few and far between; sure, we want to laugh at the hysterics, but they have to be earned. Madea driving through a fast food restaurant's front door because they are out of biscuits should have been hilarious; instead, Perry goes for over the top. Madea doesn’t even get arrested in this film. Only two characters get slapped in this movie, while there were opportunities for many more, especially every time Byron’s baby mama says his name. Devine is a respected actress of television and film, but her most difficult roles are those where she has to play nice. Her roles usually involve just as much attitude as Madea and she is just a waste here.

It’s interesting how Perry writes all the men in this particular movie as the gentle giants and the women as mostly terrible. While Perry makes sure Madea spouts some of her iconic phrases like “Hallelujur”, she isn’t even toting her famous fun this time. I was disappointed because I always expect the newest one to be funnier than the last and with Madea Goes to Jail, the funniest of the entire collection, perhaps it is time to retire the Madea character. Perry has gotten so involved with producing and working on more dramatic and serious projects that I think he has outgrown the character that made him famous.

 Final Thought – My least favorite of the Madea films.


Grade C

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Michael Woody