A MADEA CHRISTMAS
* (out of 5)
December 13, 2013
Tyler Perry as MADEA
Anna Maria Horsford as EILEEN
Tika Sumpter as LACEY
Eric Lively as CONNER
JR Lemon as OLIVER
Larry the Cable Guy as BUDDY
Kathy Najimy as KIM
Chad Michael Murray as TANNER
Directed by: Tyler Perry
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Another Madea movie, aw lewrd!
Don’t get me wrong. I respect the hell out of Tyler Perry for having a strong audience and fan base. I only wish someday to have such devotees that will pay hand-over-fist for my work like his fans do his. I just hope I don’t have to get that way making product that is so terrible.
While I haven’t seen all of Tyler Perry’s movies, I’ve seen more than my fair share of them. Already this year, he’s clocking in with one of his worst ones yet: “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.” Now that he has the dramatic gospel play angle covered with that film, he’s covering his wacky Madea angle with “A Madea Christmas.”
And if Tyler Perry in old-woman drag isn’t annoying enough for you, we have Larry the Cable Guy in this movie as well.
Surely a sign of the apocalypse.
“A Madea Christmas” finds Madea on a road trip to Alabama with her niece Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) to set things straight with her great niece Lacey (Tika Sumpter). Eileen and Madea think Lacey has hired some help on the farm she bought while struggling to be a teacher at a nonsensical elementary school in town. However, the real secret is Lacey is actually married to this guy, and his parents (Larry the Cable Guy and Kathy Najimy) are in town for Christmas.
Yes. They’re white. Aw lewrd, indeed!
There’s a certain brilliance to the awfulness of “A Madea Christmas,” so much that there’s a tiny part of me that wonders if Tyler Perry’s entire career is really a long con with his audience just to produce this movie. He takes all the dreadful stereotypes of race and flip-flops them black-to-white in this movie. Most white people in the film are hillbilly rednecks (featuring some truly atrocious Hollywood-seasoned southern accents from much of the cast). Imagine every reject from “The Jerry Springer Show,” and you’ve got the population of this town.
Throughout the film, tension mount because Lacey can’t bring herself to tell her mother she married a white man, which seems like such a bizarre plot point to have in 2013. More over, there’s a subplot in which Eileen is trying to fix Lacey up with her high school sweetheart (JR Lemon), who actually works for an evil corporation who wants to strip Jesus out of the local Holiday Jubilee and lay waste to the local economy.
Perry throws so many plot points against the wall in this film that it becomes impossible to discern what the movie is actually about. Even worse, many of these plot points are stolen from other source material, ranging from quality films like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” to rejected “Scooby-Doo!” storylines. Hell, Perry even manages to steal a bit from “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.”
With as bad as the writing is in this film, the acting is worse. Even Perry doesn’t seem comfortable in his improvisation moments while playing Madea. In fact, the only person who comes across half-way entertaining is Larry the Freaking Cable Guy, but that’s probably attributable to the fact he’s often just regurgitating his stand-up routine throughout the film.
I thought it was going to be hard to lower the bar of Madea films below that of last year’s “Witness Protection.” But damn if Perry doesn’t give it the good college try here.