A seqel that squanders its comic soul
Not only is it a classic case of a run-of-the-mill cash-grab sequel churned out at the speed of light,Boo 2! A Madea Halloween is an ensemble with a record-breaking number of awful performances and obnoxious characters. Released on the same weekend as its predecessor the year prior, this is a dire sequel with such a low-opinion of its performers, succumbing them to writing that suggests someone promptly extract the pen from his hand or unplug the computer the next time Tyler Perry makes a move to get another Madea project off the ground.
Let's get the plot out of the way first. The film revolves around the now-eighteen-year-old Tiffany (Diamond White), the spoiled-rotten teen with a strict father (Perry) and a mother (Taja V Simpson) that hands her everything so she doesn't have to earn it herself. The night before Halloween, Tiffany is treated to the same old birthday conventions of a lame gift from her father (one-upped and then some by her mother buying her a car) and a surprise party with unsurprising guests in the form of Madea (Perry), Joe (Perry, again), Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), and Hattie (Patrice Lovely). She decides to con her mother into letting her and her girl-friend (Inanna Sarkis) go to a campground famous for a murder many years ago where a Halloween party will be held by several frat-guys, including her crush Jonathan (Yousef Erakat).
Tiffany and her friends go along, one of them played by Lexy Panterra, solely to hone her twerking skills in a party montage set to Rae Sremmurd's banger "Black Beatles." Predictably, trouble strikes as the massive rager between horny college students is disrupted by the presence of a spooky girl and chainsaw-wielding madmen that prompts Madea and the gang to head out to the lake to try and save them.
Not a single soul in this film is likable, not even the cantankerous matriarch who is usually good for a couple laughs. If anything, most of the humor comes from Joe, whose grand-dad demeanor and mumblemouth dialog is taken straight out of the unwritten handbook "Elderly Men Say the Darnedest Things." White's Tiffany is a loathsome brat, to begin with, her father is such an amiable pushover he hardly qualifies as a character, Erakat is insufferable as the worst parody of a frat-boy to be committed to film, and if not for the presence of the grating, repugnant Hattie, his Jonathan would be the worst character in the film.
Like a display of teenage carnality in a free-form, no-parents-allowed setting, every characters' most unpleasant qualities emerge in this film, and this is largely due to the film's screenplay. Obviously penned in a brief amount of time and arguably shot even quicker, Perry's writing has never been cruder and more distasteful than it is here. Much of Boo 2!'s humor is directed at women at the expense of women; even most of Joe's banter revolves around assuring everyone that his sister Madea is indeed a man and in possession of a scrotum. Nearly every woman in the film is hyper-sexualized in skimpy costumes, and at one point, Joe makes a pass at Panterra's college-age character, who gets out of his romantic advances by admitting to him his worst fear - she's underage.
This is unacceptable writing from Perry, who has presented himself ad nauseum as a god-fearing man (before the theatrical showing of the film, he provides a personal introduction to a trailer ofThe Star, an upcoming animated film about the first Christmas) and someone of great moral convictions. Having this misogynistic content gratuitously populate a Halloween-themed horror-comedy is a bad look on multiple levels, on top of being generally reprehensible, but I'm sure his fanbase won't be bothered in the slightest.
Perry's dour writing also provides glimpses that show how rushed Boo 2! is as a project if you look carefully enough. Jonathan promises to give "instructions" to Tiffany on how to get to the campground, as opposed to directions. In a later scene, Diamond White bumps into a lamp while conversing with another character, and from there, lines are repeated for no particular reasons, and plot inconsistencies run rampant when Madea and company hit the road to try and save their niece. This is bad filmmaking that somehow comes with a price-tag north of $25 million. I hope the cast at least got filet mignon on the food-cart at least a couple times a week, as the budget suggests.
Boo 2! A Madea Halloween is the pits as it squanders whatever shreds of comic soul existed in the original Boo!, but maybe it's not all bad. The film will undoubtedly provide box office revenue for Perry hopefully pursuing him to experiment with future projects. For one, coming in March, Perry has a new film called Acrimony, an R-rated drama starring Taraji P. Henson as a wife that finds out the worst thing she could about her husband. The trailer for the film alone looks like more time was spent into crafting that than maintaining or reinforcing any kind of quality standard for Boo 2!, a loathsome mess of a movie.
Steve's Grade: D-