“Madea’s Big Happy Family” Movie Review

4/22/2011 Posted by Admin

“Madea’s Big Happy Family”

Movie Review

Directed by Tyler Perry, Written by Tyler Perry, 106 minutes, Rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

“Madea’s Big Happy Family” is the 10th film directed by Tyler Perry and the 23rd he’s written. Outside of his popular series of films, the man has built himself an empire of DVDs, stage plays, and two sit-coms. It’s with this knowledge that two conclusions can be drawn: 1) Tyler Perry is a forward-thinking, experimental filmmaker, who has no interest in the conventions of modern, commercial cinema; or 2) He has never seen a movie before in his life.

“Madea’s Big Happy Family” is a mess on all fronts. Perry exaggerates every laugh, cry and moment in his latest “Madea” film, creating a variety of tonal shifts that not only unglue his overall point, but also make it a chore to endure. His jokes are dull, his drama is redundant, and his messages range from the corny to the downright offensive.

Shirley (Loretta Devine) has one dying wish--she wants to bring her dysfunctional family together for one more family dinner. However, her self-involved kids won’t let her get a word out. Byron (Bow Wow), Shirley’s youngest, just got out of prison, has a gold-digging girlfriend who requests he get back into dealing, and fights with his irritating baby momma incessantly about overdue child’s support. Meanwhile, her eldest children, Tammy and Kimberly (Natalie Desselle and Shannon Kane), both have marital problems. Apparently, demeaning their spineless husbands is more important than their obviously sick mother.

So, Shirley does what any woman would do--she calls in Madea (Perry), the wisecracking Deus Ex Machina with enough mouth to fix any problem.

Perry’s message is a strange one and Madea’s solutions support this. She solves Tammy’s disobedient child problems with corporal punishment and drives through the side of a fast food restaurant when a server gets on her nerves. It also seems strange that she would mock her friend for possibly having cancer, but that’s beside the point.

But Madea isn’t the only problem -- although, she does present many. Perry’s humor is all over the place. Scenes that should have some emotional resonance resolve in shouting matches of bland jokes and puns, where Madea proclaims that everyone is apparently senseless.

Much like his last effort, “For Colored Girls,” Perry has a hard time recognizing people as more than stereotypes. Young women are characterized has monstrous harpies, while men are cowardly and emasculated. There’s little variation between these points. Tammy is interchangeable with Kimberly, Calvin with Harold, and Madea with Aunt Bam.

“Madea’s Big Happy Family” is an assault on the senses that rarely congeals into anything resembling humor or reality. I’m still trying to figure out how “Afternoont” and a pancreatic tumor equate in humor, but, hey, maybe Perry’s a pioneer of comedy, too.

Grade: D

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  1. Anonymous said...

    I think Tyler's movies, maybe particularly the Madea movies just aren't for you. This is a terrible review and the movie is HILARIOUS as are all of the Madea movies, and still has an overall concept that anyone with the slightest bit of common sense can grasp. Madea movies are meant to have a point but to be light-hearted and funny as well. There are many of us who can relate to these movies, but I can accept that there are many who can't. The movie was great and I'll watch it over and over again as I have all of the rest.

  2. Anonymous said...

    The first person who posted this comment clearly has poor taste. Madea movies are hilarious? Please. They're awful. And Tyler Perry isn't talented and I will never understand why people pay money to see his poorly written geriatric "religious" drag show movies. Ever.

  3. malia3w said...

    I am not quite sure what it is that you are trying to figure out.........
    Look at Tyler Perry's bank account! Enough said.

  4. Anonymous said...

    I love when people defend the terrible shit they like by saying "it isn't for you." What they really mean is "I'm a fucking moron who likes terrible shit."

  5. Anonymous said...

    BTW, you fucking hypocrit, saying that this review is terrible and the movie is hilarious? This review isn't for you.

  6. Anonymous said...

    This review is perfect.

    Idiots don't like to be called idiots for supporting other idiots, so of course some of you will be upset.

    I thank the review for calling a spade a spade and garbage, garbage!

  7. Anonymous said...

    I think the critic that graded this movie was white, so that's why it's a D, nothing done by black people will ever be good to white people. Look at our President Barack Obama no matter what he accomplished all people see is his color!!!! From a White woman

  8. UK said...

    i am yet to see it but judging by this review..no way am i gonna spend my money on it lol. And i agree that the madea character shld be retired. she really isnt a good image for women of color.. still a fan of tyler perry though.