Madea's sweet medicine
Tyler Perry certainly doesn't need me, or anyone else, to sing his praises, but I'm gonna do it anyway.
Judging by the size of the crowd that turned out Saturday at noon at the newly souped-up Galleria Cinemas in Centerville, his "Madea's Family Reunion" should be a much bigger success than "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", which grossed $50 million at the box office. Not bad for a man who got laughed out of movie studios just a few years ago.
"Madea" works best when Madea herself is on screen. Perry's message, much the same as Bill Cosby's of late, doesn't often run much deeper than "why can't y'all just act right?", but it somehow goes down a whole lot sweeter when delivered by Perry in drag as Madea.
Unlike Martin Lawrence's big momma or any other fool in a fat suit, Perry plays Madea as a real, tremendously politically incorrect character. Watching her (or him, or whatever) cut down to size anyone who crosses her is laugh-out-loud funny.
As for the rest of the movie, it's exactly what you might expect: drama, drama and yes, more drama. Following the traditional gospel play arc, these are people with serious problems, albeit people a lot prettier than you meet in the real world. There's family strife and some brutal domestic violence, delivered with frightful realism by usually-the-good-guy Blair Underwood. It would be a lot like watching Wayne Brady on "Chappelle's Show" if it weren't so brutal.
And it takes way too long to get to the happy ending we all know is coming, but I didn't really mind, and neither did anyone else in the audience. Along with Perry himself, the other thing that makes "Madea" work is these are characters we can actually identify with. Though, as far as I know, I've never been a single black woman with two kids, I could feel the pain of Lisa Arindell Anderson and the others who work hard to deliver on Perry's promise.
But it all get's back to Madea. I can't help but wonder how Perry came up with such a crazy character, but it's brilliant. It's a lot more fun if you can laugh while you're being lectured to. Pay attention and take notes, Mr. Cosby.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Posted by Reel Fanatic at 2:57 PM