There was a new Madea movie recently — did you know about it? Don’t worry most people didn’t. After a cinematic run lasting nearly a decade and a half, Tyler Perry brings the Madea legacy to a close with what is currently proclaimed to be the series’ final film.
Whether or not this holds true, only time will tell. The only thing Hollywood has been shown to appreciate more than a high return is nostalgic relaunches of iconic franchises in hiatus. For now “A Madea Family Funeral” is the end of the line, and it fittingly closes on a feature that fans will enjoy yet fail to convert any of the non-initiated.
Perry reprises his role as Madea, leading her entourage of Bam (Cassi Davis), Hattie (Patrice Davis), and Joe (also portrayed by Perry) through the funeral of a family member whose circumstances of death threaten to unravel the relationships held by his wife and children.
“A Madea Family Funeral,” like most of Perry’s work, especially those featuring Madea, relies heavilyon stage theatrics with a lot of flat production and editing, making it feel less like a theatrical release and more like a stage play.
That level of laziness in craftsmanship can be grating to sit through for the duration of the film, but while this makeup has certainly held these movies back from being technically good, what makes them so difficult to dissect is that Perry knows what his audience wants and it’s hard to really hate something that delivers on its promise to who it’s meant for.
Within Madea’s rambling ad libbed hijinks are pockets of hard, solid laughter. And as laughably melodramatic as the soap opera-esque drama gets, we actually come to a decent payoff. Whether that payoff is worth stomaching the sloppiness of the film is really going to depend on if you’re a Perry fan or critic. As somebody that admires the man’s character building, ingenuity, and willingness to give hard working black actors jobs beyond stereotypes perpetuated by Hollywood, while critical of the craftsmanship behind his cash cow, I may not be the best judge of that question.
“A Madea Family Funeral” is strictly for the fans. They’ll probably enjoy it and few else need apply, but in the age of conquering streaming services with premium content, perhaps these sort of features would be best suited there than in theaters.
2 out of 5
Graduating from Texas A&M University—Commerce with a bachelor's degree in News and Editorial Journalism, Jordan Wright has lived most of his adult life professionally critiquing films, from major blockbusters to indie dramas, and has no intentions of stopping.