Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson
|Featuring:||Tyler Perry … Madea/Joe/Brian
Eugene Levy … George Needleman
Denise Richards … Kate Needleman
Doris Roberts … Barbara
Romeo Miller … Jake
Tom Arnold … Walter
John Amos … Pastor Nelson
|Producer:||The Tyler Perry Company
Ozzie Areu … producer
“New look. New York. New Madea.”
Written, directed, produced and starring…. Tyler Perry! In countless reviews, I have written that same phrase over and over again. So often have I penned those words, I may have grown weary of the need to write them. As a fan of Tyler Perry for a number of years, I have grown accustomed to a certain style, certain repetitive themes, and certain characters, and tend to expect the same-old-same-old jokes. I am thrilled to report that Perry has given us some fresh laughs and a new storyline. No sign of Mr. Brown or Cora, no abusive, cheating husbands, or sad sack stories, just some honest to goodness laughs. Yes, Madea is back, but even she seems to have had a character makeover.
In “Madea’s Witness Protection,” Madea plays hostess/security guard for the Needleman family who are under federal witness protection, as they are the targets of a mafia hit. George Needleman (Eugene Levy) is a Wall Street executive who learns that he has been set up as the fall guy for a Ponzi scheme which as bilked several charities out of millions of dollars. If he doesn’t get out of New York City, he and his family will meet certain doom. When the government suggests the family move in with Madea and her older brother, Joe, the hilarity ensues. George, his wife Kate (Denise Richards) and their two children must relocate to the Georgia home of our heroine. Rounding out the Needleman family is George’s mother, Barbara (Doris Roberts of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame), whose bouts of senility add to the fun.
Make no mistake—this is no Oscar® contender, and sadly, Perry continues to blur the morality line. As in his previous films, the suggestive language, a few drug references, and frequent sexual innuendo (no nudity or sex scenes, but sexual topics are frequent—especially Madea’s past lives as a stripper and a prostitute) are absolutely unnecessary. If you write good material, you do not need to go blue to make people laugh. And what’s more, he had Eugene Levy as the star—that man has no trouble making people crack up! Even when he is trying to be un-funny, somehow he still is a laugh riot. That being said, though, Perry’s stalwart fans and those looking for a few good belly laughs will enjoy the film. Again, nothing award winning here, but some good fun for mature teens and adults.
Consistent with his body of work, Perry manages to sneak in a few good lines that will resonate with Christian audiences and other viewers. The importance of family unity and togetherness serves as the undercurrent to the comedy of this film. That being said, though, I would recommend parents view the film first, before they decide if younger teens should see the movie.
Violence: Mild / Profanity/Vulgarity: Moderate—“Lord, have mercy” (6), “God,” “Lord,” “hell” (38), “damn” (12), “ass” (15) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.