Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween
2016, PG-13, 103 min. Directed by Tyler Perry. Starring Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely, Yousef Erakat, Lexy Panterra.
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Oct. 28, 2016
The Day of the Dead seems an especially apt time of year to revive Madea, a moldering comic character first unveiled in the early Aughts, as the novelty of the sturdy, 6’5” Tyler Perry cross-dressing in muumuu and saggy boobs has long worn off. But here’s the trick of this un-treat of a movie: There’s exactly one compelling performance in Boo! A Madea Halloween, and it’s courtesy of Perry. Only it’s in another guise – not as the braying Madea, nor as her pot-smoking, N-word-dropping brother Joe (another of Perry’s recurring characters) but as Brian, a single father struggling with how to discipline his unruly teenage daughter.
As a writer, director, and producer, Perry has consistently threaded compelling domestic inquires into his broad comedies; here, he explores a generational divide in parenting technique, wherein Perry’s helicopter dad Brian is horrified by his own father’s advice to “whoop dat ass.” But Perry – the writer/director – uses that as the setup for a painfully unfunny digression where Pa Joe muses about the time he threw Brian off the roof and landed him on life support. Har? Excepting Perry’s performance as Brian – which he sells in a heartfelt third-act monologue – the film is chockablock with terrible actors (including Tyga, in a bizarro cameo rapping at a frat party), and the jokes he gives his inferior cast to work with are stinkers.