There’s a unique conundrum that comes with being a Tyler Perry fan. His plays are a revelatory combination of old school tent revivals and carefully crafted melodrama. His plots are poised precariously along the limited lines of cliche and stereotype, but the inclusion of great gospel lite music and a certain drag voice of common sense propels them forward.
His movies, on the other hand, cater to an often uncertain demographic. Perry has always been a populist, it’s just that he serves an audience that, before, was barely considered by Hollywood. Thanks to his success, doors have been open for other faith based productions. But Perry is smarter than the whole “go with God” crowd. He combines chaos, comedy, and Christianity into a potent stew that leaves the included satisfied and the excluded sour.
So what do we make of a movie like Boo! A Madea Halloween. Apparently the direct result of an in-joke made by Chris Rock in his compelling, autobiographical Top Five, this is another yet another example of Perry’s preaching to the choir. But this time out, he picks a different songbook, one that shuttles the “Men are Pigs, Women are Suffering Saviors” themes off to the side, leaving more room for the mischief that a man in a dress can get up to.
The plot here is relatively simple. Madea (Perry, perfect as ever) is put in charge of her son Brian Simmons’ (Perry again), errant kids, including a teenage daughter named Tiffany (Diamond White) who is desperate to attend a party being thrown by a frat house just around the corner. Along with constant cronies Aunt Bam (Cassie Davis), Hattie Mae (Patrice Love) and Uncle Joe (Perry), they try to keep the eager adolescent in check. Naturally, she breaks out, attends the gala, gets in trouble, and as payback for ruining their good time, the frat dress as zombies and terrorize Madea.
From there, it’s a string of strong to silly jokes that add up to a hilarious good time. But there’s something missing in Boo! A Madea Halloween that many in her fan base might find off putting. Instead of beating viewers over the head with Bible based solutions and scripture laced screeds, the Church plays a minor role here. Instead, Perry is playing to his strengths, moving even further into the mainstream. In fact, you could legitimately envision Martin Lawrence in a ratty housecoat and wig reprising one of his infamous roles in A Big Mamma Halloween.
All drag pros and cons aside, Perry has found the perfect voice for Madea, the embodiment of old school maternal care. From her “do as I say, not as I do” decision making to the pop culture malapropisms, she’s a stitch. Even the worst punchlines come to life in Perry’s delivery, and Madea makes a case for the filmmaker to continue on past his already limited cinematic “sell by” date. He may not achieve a level of comic genius of, say, a Jerry Lewis, but there’s still plenty of pop left in this broadly drawn battle axe.
Where Perry remains lacking is in his skill behind the lens. He’s just not a very good director. He’s proficient, and he manages to keep things in frame and in focus, but that doesn’t lend itself to visionary work. Anyone who has seen his theater work knows he has an eye for unique set design and actor movement. On film, that all falls flat. We get lifeless looks at lively material, the performers doing their best while the filmmaking lets them down. Even in moments that are meant to be frantic, like the frat’s zombie attack on Madea and the gang, nothing pops. It all just lays there.
But then everyone’s favorite gun-toting, pot-smoking Granny turns up the juice, and that makes Boo! A Madea Halloween a whole lot of fun. If you’ve ever suffered through a Perry film and said “I could do without all the preaching and teaching”, then you are in for a welcome surprise. This may be as close to your typical Tinseltown laugher that this man ever gets. It’s like the recent Seth Rogen romp Neighbors divested of the “R” rating and given a race-specific sheen.
With his growing TV empire and work outside of his own films (Gone Girl, Alex Cross), Perry isn’t going away anytime soon. On the other hand, he needs to realize that God can only get you so far at the box office. Boo! A Madea Halloween is a fine step in the direction of ditching all the contrivance and soap operatics for a more grounded, genial experience. As the main character, the Jack-Of-All-Artistic-Trades creates something fun. It’s a style and approach he should continue to explore.
BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN Srt Sub Subtitle Download
Halloween is just another holiday for Tyler Perry to talk about issues facing parents and families in his stiff “Boo! A Madea Halloween.”
This isn’t a horror movie — unless you consider the atrocious pacing and thin plot to be scary. “A Madea Halloween” is rare for Perry in that it’s one of only two “Madea” films not adapted from a stage play, but it sure feels like one, with several scenes — a droning living room chat in particular — feeling like a one-act, one-room play that goes on and on and on.
Perry plays multiple roles in the film, including Brian Simmons, a father whose 17-year-old daughter Tiffany (Diamond White) gets invited to a nearby frat party on Halloween. Simmons tries blocking her from going, but has other obligations, so he enlists Madea (Perry) to babysit and keep her from sneaking out.
Madea doesn’t come alone. The outrageous granny brings along a sideshow of sidekicks in Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), Hatti (Patrice Lovely) and Uncle Joe (Perry), but the four of them are no match for a determined teen. Tiffany gets to the party and Madea and the gang follow her there and wind up in a prank war with the frat.
A bout of hijinks ensues, but it’s all background for Perry’s on-the-nose messages about family, faith, parenting and community issues. He means well, but his delivery couldn’t be more heavy-handed; he might as well turn to the camera and say, “Hi, I’m Tyler Perry,” and run a PSA.
Madea is the spoonful of sugar Perry uses to get his point across. But in this Halloween setting, it feels like more trick than treat.
Five years ago, my RogerEbert.com colleague Steven Boone and I wrote a very long online piece on Tyler Perry. Neither of us sought to dismiss him, and I expressed much admiration both for how he built his own studio and for how brilliant actresses of color trusted him so passionately with their performances. But I found his direction to be extremely problematic. For example, there were moments in “For Colored Girls” where Perry was as bonkers and fearless as Sam Fuller, but he could never seal the deal in the visual way the cinematic medium needed.
As for Perry’s most famous character, Madea, I’ve always thought she worked better on stage, where her broadness plays to the back of a theater filled with fans expressing fellowship and jonesing on the Christian music and message of the plays. Unlike many of Madea’s prior movies, “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” didn’t originate as a hit stage play. The idea started as a joke in Chris Rock’s hilarious “Top Five,” where the latest Tyler Perry production has Madea fighting ghosts. Despite the mockery, Perry liked the concept and shot this movie in 6 days.
The idea of a supernatural addition to Madea’s litany of pet peeves intrigued me. I would have enjoyed seeing her cuss out demons and slap the taste out of the mouths of disrespecting spirits. Unfortunately, the only supernatural aspect of “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is the “boo” in the title. Instead, the plot concerns itself with Madea (Tyler Perry) trying to keep her great niece Tiffany (Diamond White) from attending a Halloween party at the lamest fraternity I have ever seen. When things go horribly awry for the frat, they plot a Halloween-themed vengeance on Madea and her cohorts Aunt Bam (Cassie Davis), Hattie (Patrice Lovely) and Joe (Tyler Perry).
Madea’s nephew Brian (Tyler Perry, again) summons her to his house to keep an eye on his daughter while he’s out of town. He fears she will disobey his orders and attend the frat party. Brian is a doormat whom Tiffany disrespects in ways that would never fly in a Madea-run household. Tiffany’s behavior becomes the basis for the typical whiplash-inducing dramatic change in tone for which Perry’s films are notorious. Before we get there, however, we have to deal with the party, the pranks and the constant bickering between Madea and her crew.
I wish Perry had spent the time to craft some good scares, even if they’re supposed to be comedic. The trailer pretty much covers everything you’ll see in terms of Halloween-themed material. The entire frat subplot is Perry’s attempt to bring in a younger crowd (he casts several Youtube sensations), but outside of the moment when the elderly Hattie twerks to a Tyga song, these scenes are almost unwatchable. A scene with the frat inside a school bus is especially awful, offensively trotting out gay panic tropes that Perry unsuccessfully plays for laughs.
“Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” fares better when it focuses on Perry’s broadly played cast of older characters. Joe, Aunt Bam and Hattie are good for several chuckles, though their director often beats their gags into the ground. Joe’s extremely gruesome descriptions of the corporal punishment he dispensed on his son, Brian, provides some squirmy, scary laughs. And Madea is at her funniest when she’s being unforgivably mean; her takedown of a trick-or-treater dressed like a cow is hilarious in its unflinching cruelty. Her line about having a “Ho-oh-one-K” instead of a 401(k) made me laugh so hard I embarrassed myself.
At 103 minutes, this film has way too much dead weight. Scenes are repeated over and over, and some of the acting would not cut it in a school play. But in the rare moments when “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is firing on all cylinders, it displays a cleverness which hints that, with more time and a few more iterations of the script, this might have been a good movie. For the most part, the film has a rushed, haphazard quality that makes it feel like a selfish cash grab by its creator. But I know better; Perry’s love for his audience radiates off the screen and is returned just as powerfully by his fans. The real problem isn’t that he’s preaching to a built-in choir, it’s that the choir too easily forgives cinematic trespasses like this. That’s the Christian thing to do, I suppose, but I’m going to be a heathen here. Madea would understand.