Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
|Featuring:||Chad Michael Murray … Tanner McCoy
Alicia Witt … Amber
Tyler Perry … Madea
Kathy Najimy … Kim
Tika Sumpter … Lacey
Larry the Cable Guy … Buddy
Eric Lively … Conner
Lisa Whelchel … Nancy Porter
Anna Maria Horsford … Eileen
Jonathan Chase … Alfred
Vickie Eng … Customer #6
|Producer:||Tyler Perry Studios
Ozzie Areu … producer
Jennifer Booth … co-producer
Tyler Perry … producer
“Jolly. Fat. Old. Who were you expecting?”
It’s almost Christmas time! And everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit in southern Georgia.
Our story revolves around a young school teacher, Lacey and her struggle to help the town out with their goal of participating in their annual Christmas Jubilee and adjusting to life in the country with her new husband, Connor (whom she had secretly eloped with). Not to mention, her mom and good old Madea’s niece, Eileen is planning a surprise visit, bringing smart-mouthed Madea with her, against Lacey’s wishes. However, as Eileen predicts, things are not what they seem. It’s a story about romance, trees, family, faith, and a good old helping of Madea
Do film franchises get old? Yes, they do. Is Tyler Perry’s Madea film franchise one of them? Well, that depends on who you ask. I’ve seen only two of the seven Madea films, so, to me, the films are still very much fresh. But for many, among them top-notch acclaimed critics, the joke has gone old.
In watching “A Madea Christmas,” I couldn’t help feel that I got the same kind of humor (still grossly inappropriate in some areas). While there are some really hysterical moments, it still has a sense of déjà vu.
What I did enjoy was the story. The story, while humorous, is also very heart-wrenching in multiple spots and deals with a lot of difficult themes: bullying, racism, and even commercialism. It was nice to see Christianity (with the exception of one scene) being portrayed in a positive manner. The town the story takes place in does not celebrate Santa Claus or the commercial holiday. The citizens focus on the real story of Jesus and are even shown fighting for it. A Cross is properly displayed in a classroom, and comments are made about how awful it is that prayer was taken out of schools.
What was also nice were the performances. I’ve come to love Madea. While the jokes might be a bit stale, her attitude, to me, never gets old, and I found myself laughing at most of her dialog. There are also some good appearances from Chad Michael Murray, Larry the Cable Guy, and even an hysterical cameo from a YouTube celebrity.
Content for Concern
Violence: While Madea is class-sitting for Lacey, a student steals Madea’s purse when she’s not looking. To teach her a lesson, we later see the female student strung up with Christmas lights on the wooden cross in the class room. There’s also a scene involving a car crash, followed by an explosion. A character is punched two times.
Language: Heavy. The count is as follows: h*ll (49), d*mn (26) a** (9), S.O.B. (1), G*d (1), the Lord’s name is also used in vain several times. Other language includes “you’re working for the devil,” a mean description of young students, a comment about vegetarians being “tofu-farters,” the word “nipples” is used a few times, p*ssed, urination, drug references, and an offensive scene where Madea tells a very messed up version of the Nativity story to the group of students (using slang and little respect).
Sex/Nudity: Heavy and very uncalled for. Comments are made about female breasts, breast feeding, male genitals, Viagra, selling your goods, pole dancing, and a scene where a sex game is interrupted. There is other sexual talk and other way-beyond inappropriate—language throughout the film that would be very inappropriate to put in this review.
I think of the biggest issue this movie deals with is bullying. We witness constant bullying from Eileen’s mother (who is of African American descent) in the form of racism (claiming the Connor’s parents, who are Caucasian, are part of the Ku Klux Klan), Tanner’s (Chad Michael Murray’s character) being bullied for the way he dresses or looks, or Connor being picked on for no reason.
Bullying is wrong, in every sense. To me, bullying is the same as passing judgment on others. Who are we to judge? What credit do we have? God is our judge and our mediator. He is the only one qualified to pass judgment. Scripture warns of the consequences:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” –Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)
The jokes are more vulgar that the last movie I saw, “Madea’s Witness Protection,” and while the film does have heart, it’s still very déjà vu, even with Tyler Perry’s comedic brand of humor. My advice though, even with Christianity shown in a positive light, is to pass on this movie. Your time is better spent reading about the true story of Christmas itself… Jesus Christ.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…Laden with lessons but relatively low-key… a loose framework for imparting the eternal values of brotherly love, openness and running off at the mouth. …
—Nicolas Rapold, The New York Times
…“A Madea Christmas” is a guess-who’s-coming-to-dinner message movie that features the semi-novelty of flipping the races as far as where the forces of intolerance are coming from. … [B-]
—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
…mixes up some great messages with a mess of a big mamma who's just as comfortable cursing and crudely carrying on as she is prodding her family and friends to do the right thing, tell the truth and celebrate Christmas the way it should be celebrated. And how is that? Well, the movie couldn't be more explicit in spelling it out: Keep Christ in Christmas. …
—Steven Isaac, Plugged In
…a vulgar Christmas… Christian worldview with very pagan language and jokes mixed with Christian and biblical elements… the sex is in innuendos rather than sickening displays. …This is not fit for family viewing.
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide