‘Boo! A Madea Hal­loween’, ter­ri­fy­ingly bad

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Damian Levy Con­trib­u­tor

MAYBE, ONCE, it was a good idea. Dress up like the ma­tri­arch of a black house­hold, hire hard-work­ing black ac­tors and ac­tresses, and write sto­ries that ap­peal to a group of peo­ple who’ve his­tor­i­cally been un­der and mis­rep­re­sented. On paper, ev­ery­thing Tyler Perry does is not only smart, but it’s also im­por­tant. At it’s best, you have films like Madea’s Fam­ily Reunion; at it’s worst, you have this film.

Now, I know this re­view is mean­ing­less. Tyler Perry movies at­tract the type of loy­alty that ren­ders any crit­i­cal anal­y­sis of them moot. They get peo­ple to see them no mat­ter how bad it might ac­tu­ally be. Hav­ing un­der­stood that, I still need to say what this movie was to me.

For Boo!, A Madea Hal­loween, Tyler Perry plays a man at the end of his rope, un­able to tame the feral beast that is his re­bel­lious 17-year-old daugh­ter. De­spite this, he re­fuses to lay a hand on her. When it seems she has in­ten­tions of sneak­ing out to a col­lege party she has no busi­ness go­ing to, he calls in the sternest hand he knows, his dear Aunt Madea.

The first act of the movie, lead­ing up to Madea’s ap­pear­ance, is pal­pa­bly grat­ing. How Tyler Perry can be so con­vinc­ing in the role of Madea, but so tepid play­ing it straight, is baffling. Ev­ery per­for­mance from any­one not cov­ered in make-up makes the movie feel like a school project. Not to men­tion, there are scenes that go on for­ever, re­it­er­at­ing the same jokes and points, that feel like they were pulled di­rectly from a stage show but were ne­glected in adapt­ing it for the movies.

NOTH­ING FUNNY

I’m not go­ing to pre­tend I didn’t laugh, I did. Not even at how medi­ocre it was, but gen­uinely, I was made to laugh when I was sup­posed to. How­ever, those mo­ments don’t out­weigh the times when I hon­estly wanted to leave. Clearly this was not a sub­jec­tive no­tion, judg­ing by the long stretches of si­lence in the cin­ema at scenes de­signed for big laughs.

It’s not a movie that evokes anger, in which case I’d tell you, you’re bet­ter off read­ing a book. Truth be told, it’s harm­less enough to be put on in the back­ground, laugh when you’re sup­posed to and ig­nore it when you’re not.

In this im­age re­leased by Lionsgate, Tyler Perry por­trays Madea in a scene from, ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Hal­loween.’

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