Mon | Jul 6, 2020

Boo! A Madea Halloween', terrifyingly bad

Published:Saturday | October 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy
In this image released by Lionsgate, Tyler Perry portrays Madea in a scene from, ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween.’

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 makeup, 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.

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, where 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.