“The film decides to fall back into old habits”

by Steve Pulaski

Boo! A Madea Halloween is a mediocre holiday-concept sequel for Tyler Perry’s trademark character in light of her very funny A Madea Christmas, released two Christmases ago. With an emphasis on lengthy sequences that do little besides rehash tired jokes and a congested plot that echoes the worst tendencies of these Madea films, this is a project that regresses the character back to her old sloppy and borderline-intolerable ways.

The film is set on Halloween night and revolves around the Simmons family, particularly Brian (Tyler Perry) and his daughter, proving there is no continuity nor hope in trying to piece together how large Madea’s extended family actually is. Brian is having a tough time disciplining his daughter Tiffany (Diamond White) as a single-parent, and now that it is Halloween night, she understandably wants to go out, to which he won’t let her. Because he can’t up the courage to lay down the law, he calls on her aunt Madea (also played by Perry) to do it as well.

Boo! A Madea Halloween
Directed by
Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely
Release Date
28 October 2016
Steve’s Grade: D+

Madea decides to bring Tiffany’s uncle Joe (Perry, again), her sister Bam (Cassi Davis), and their friend Hattie (Patrice Lovely) to Brian’s to watch over Tiffany to make sure she doesn’t sneak out to go to a local frat party. After she winds up pulling a prank on the geezers, Tiffany and her girlfriend successfully sneak out to meet her friends at the frat, such as her longtime-girlfriend Rain (Bella Thorne) and the sleazy host of the party, Jonathan (Yousef Erakat). This leads to Madea, Bam, and Hattie going to the frat party and trying to find her amidst all the teenage hormones and chaos. What could possibly go wrong?

When Madea inadvertently helps get the frat’s party shut down, all bets are off, and you can bet they are going to make her and her girlfriends pay for what they’ve done. While this continues, Madea and company try to coach Brian in how to instill some manners in his daughter while they try and get him out of this mild-mannered mindset he’s been in for much of his life. Again, what could possibly go wrong?

The idea of jolts being intermixed with the slapstick comedy of your average Madea film, admittedly, has a lot of horror-comedy potential, but being that both fall flat, and Perry’s old habits die hard, Boo! A Madea Halloween becomes more of an ungainly chore than a laugh riot. Much of Perry’s film is executed using fairly long sequences to allow the characters to exhaust all of their tired banter between one another, as if this film was conceived directly from one of Perry’s Madea stageplays despite never having been one. The result is a lot of sequences that last an upwards of ten minutes, stuck in the same setting and only churning out a couple of funny one-liners. The most memorable and downright hilarious sequence involves Madea and Bam sitting outside Bam’s home, passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, with Bam explaining something that she has done to harmless children for years on end.

Even worse, the film decides to fall back into old habits of being a discombobulated mess of genres. Much like in Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s big-screen debut, this is a film that houses comedy, drama, suspense, and a boring, moralistic attitude during its conclusion, all within 100 minutes. With that, you can only begin to imagine the tonal shifts that must take place to accommodate every genre under the sun.

Boo! A Madea Halloween shows stunning regression for Tyler Perry, following a couple compelling dramas and a seriously funny installment in his Madea franchise. Its mediocrity and perceived rushed nature is only furthered by an ending that comes out of nowhere and would’ve maybe worked better with more believable buildup. Instead, it exists as a serviceable way to end a film you’d think was predicated off of a randomized selector tool and a handful of hokey ideas.