Dave's Rating:

3.5

They're not happy, but you'll be.

Who's In It: Loretta Devine, Tyler Perry, Isaiah Mustafa, Shad "Bow Wow" Moss, Cassi Davis, Shannon Kane, Natalie Desselle Reid, Rodney Perry, Tamela Mann, David Mann, Teyana Taylor, Lauren London

The Basics: Loretta Devine (cast, once again, as a long-suffering Christian mom) learns that she's dying of cancer and attempts in vain to bring her estranged family back together to break the news and facilitate some fence-mending. Naturally her kids are having none of it, bickering with each other and, in turn, ruining their own happiness and relationships for good measure. That means Madea has to step in and knock sense--sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally--into some stubborn skulls. If you think she's incapable of this task then you've never seen a Tyler Perry movie before.

What's The Deal: But I have. In fact, I've spent a lot of hours over the past decade watching every Tyler Perry movie in existence and here's what I've learned about myself: I like Madea and I like gospel choir-saturated finales but I dislike simplistic, bulldozer melodrama. So I've been waiting patiently for Perry to make a Madea film that suits my tastes and I think this is the one. It's heavy on the crazed antics of the big lady with the hammer in her purse, full of her trademark hollering, hitting and haranguing; and it pulls back on the kind of arm-twisting emotional payoffs that, in the past, have found actors like Keshia Knight Pulliam weirdly miscast as desperately miserable, crack-addicted prostitutes. If his past films were equal parts comedy and drama, this one is almost non-stop funny. I laughed so much that I actually started to notice that I was laughing so much.

The Good Stuff: Even when the movie takes a sharp right turn into Mama's-dying-so-let's-all-stop-fighting-oops-hang-on-it's-time-to-reveal-shocking-family-secrets territory, the abundantly talented Devine takes control of the situation and carries the rest of the cast along with her. Meanwhile, Perry packs more words-per-minute into Madea's machine-gun-fast tirades than ever before and finally hits his stride with a character that, off screen, he seems to be hinting at abandoning. He shouldn't.

One To Watch: That would be newcomer Teyana Taylor (you'll know her when you see her because she looks like what would happen if Kimberly Elise and Rihanna combined their DNA and made a baby) as Bow Wow's extremely loud, extremely obnoxious ex-girlfriend. She's the funniest supporting character in the movie, taking over every scene she's in, whipping her hair back and forth, letting the costume department have their own wild way with her outfits and burning herself into your consciousness with a crazy braying whine that never lets up. She needs her own sitcom right away.

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Comments (5)

jay - 4-24-2011 7:03 AM
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I've read a majority of your reviews, and honestly, it's the only reason I come to this site. Their funny, relevant, and insightful. I'm not the biggest fan of Tyler Perry movies -- I find them amusing for the first half, but for one reason or another they get derailed by sappy, heavy-handed melodrama. From the reviews of Perry's movies that I've read from you, you have never really cared for them too much. So this review was a surprise. And it actually makes me want to check it out.

Shzntt - 4-24-2011 1:09 PM
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Byraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan...aaaaaaaaaaaan..aaaaaaaaaaaan classic lol!

Wouldn't You Like to Know - 4-25-2011 5:03 AM
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I found it more annoying than funny. In fact, just about every character in this movie pissed me off besides Madea and the weed-smoking lady. It's funny, I'll give you that, but that alone doesn't save it from having despisable characters. That's my opinion anyway, take it for what it is.

Rashawna - 4-27-2011 5:48 AM
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I'm a big fan of Tyler Perry and this movie was hilarious and sad. I laughed and cried all the way through it.

anauttica hurd - 12-02-2011 7:36 PM
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i love all the movies and my grand parents last name is perrt

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