Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson
|Featuring:||Tyler Perry … Madea/Joe
Loretta Devine … Shirley
Cassi Davis … Aunt Bam
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|Producer:||The Tyler Perry Company
Ozzie Areu … executive producer
Michael Paseornek … executive producer
Tyler Perry … producer
Roger M. Bobb … producer
Reuben Cannon … producer
Joseph P. Genier … co-producer
“I’ll make your family an offer it can’t refuse.”
Watch out y’all… Madea’s back and she’s as mad as ever! Tyler Perry has kept his promise to his own mother (she passed away recently and asked that he keep Madea around, despite his expressed desire to retire the wig and body suit).
Those who have been fans of Tyler Perry since his breakout career in stage plays have watched Madea’s over-the-top antics over and over (and over and over and over and over). Her acerbic language and definitely rude behavior was funny then, but it wears thin after hearing the same jokes and same dysfunctional family plotlines time and time again.
In “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” Tyler Perry stars and directs the adaptation of his latest popular stag play by the same name. Fans of the play, honestly, will not see much difference between the play and the movie. Madea (Perry) is called in to help Miss Shirley (played by veteran actress Loretta Devine) gather her estranged family together to inform them of her impending demise. Despite her best intentions to raise her children to love God and each other, their bitterness and unforgiveness prohibits them from even spending Sunday dinner together without fighting.
The remainder of the cast includes Perry’s usual cadre of actors reprising the roles that made them household names including David Mann as Mr. Brown and his wife Tamela as Madea’s daughter, Cora, and Cassi Davis (star of TV’s “House of Payne”) who plays Aunt Bam, Miss Shirley’s pot-smoking, over-sexed elderly caretaker. As a matter of fact, virtually the entire cast of the stage play makes cameo appearances in this movie.
As usual, Perry uses Madea’s matriarchal position and voice to try to send powerful messages about family, love, relationships, even God, but sadly, those messages get lost in all of the redundant jokes and bad language. Once again, Perry as writer rides the fine line between acceptability by popular culture standards and his core Christian audiences’ standards. There are some who might be drawn in by the title; don’t be fooled, this is not “family” oriented material. Keep the younger kids at home; perhaps mature teens could handle it, but parents should view first.
In various television and print interviews, Perry promises his loyal fans to keep doing the Madea character, as long as his fans want to see her. If that is Perry’s only criterion, Madea’s iconic status will keep her going for many years to come. The question is, should he/she?
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy (“hell”—30, “damn”—17, “ass”—21, etc.) / Sex/Nudity: Heavy (mature thematic material, sexual dialogue, and some provocative apparel)
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.