Friday, April 22, 2011

Movie Review: Madea's Big Happy Family

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Three new movies this weekend. Water for Elephants has Robert Pattinson, Edward of Twilight fame, in a drama. Didn't see much in the way of previews so it was a pass. The next was African Cats the Disney documentary about the big cats of Africa. Although I love Disney, I'm a dog person. Next! So that left Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family. Annnnd...I bought a ticket.

Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family  Movie Poster
People either seem to love Perry's work or they hate it. There doesn't seem to be many in the middle ground. I lean toward the love side of his work, especially when it includes Madea, Perry's female alter ego. Playing such a loud, boisterous and as I was taught at my first job a PB that's pushy broad in case you're scratching your head, Perry gets to do things that normally people would find unacceptable. But, when Madea does it we laugh and laugh hard.

In Perry's movies, there are elements of relationships in all forms that get explored. Mothers and daughters, siblings, parental and general connections between people. What are issues spoken and unspoken, known and unknown, fresh and deep rooted that are part of the characters lives we see play out on the screen. Sometimes redemption is there, sometimes not. Elements of faith in God are always in play in his cinematic endeavors.

The theater was pretty full for the first show of the day on what for some is a long Easter weekend. The crowd reacted to the projected images. Many times the laughter was so loud and hard you couldn't hear the words. At other times there were gasps of shocked surprise. And at other times there was silence punctuated by people inhaling trying to hold back their noses from running.

Some of the dialogue, actions and situations were so over the top that you shook your head in laughter. But yet in many cases there were the elements of truth to each one. That's where he gets us. We drop our guard a little so that he can get in there with a message of love, truth, faith and of overcoming. On occasion he hits us with a situational 2X4 to either wake us up to what is around ourselves or for those that are aware, to be all the more thankful.

As to what happens in the 106 minute running time, here's the scoop. Madea's niece Shirley (Loretta Devine) needs to tell her three children about her health issues. Each child has their own intervening issues. Her son Byron (Bow Wow) is dealing with two high maintenance women, his baby's mamma and girlfriend while trying to overcome being recently released from jail. Oldest daughter Kimberly (Shannon Kane) is a cold non responsive wife to her husband Calvin (the Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa). Middle daughter Tammy (Natalie Desselle) is the domineering emasculating wife with two disrespectful boys. One of the biggest laughs throughout was provided by weed smoking Aunty Bam (Cassi Davis).

There was a cute animation to start the movie and the blooper reel to finish it out while the credits ran making you want to stay until what I call the BSOR or blue screen of rating. With drug content (lots of weed due to Aunty Bam), language provided by an often bleeped out Madea (when you see why it was bleeped you're stomach will be hurting from laughter) and some mature thematic material (the aforementioned relationships and health issues) it received a PG-13 rating.

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