A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tyler Perry's signature character is back for another holiday-themed comedy in Boo! A Madea Halloween. This time around, Madea (Perry) has to keep an eye on a 17-year-old girl who's determined to sneak out to a frat party. But the outspoken and usually unshakeable lady gets spooked by ghosts, zombies, and other frights. It fits right into Madea's other misadventures -- which means you can expect strong language ("s--t," "bitch," etc.) and sexual references (suggestive comments, skimpy Halloween costumes). Characters get punched in the face, and there's some drug use (marijuana) and implied drinking. Underneath it all, of course, is Madea's patented tough-love approach to imparting life lessons.
What's the story?
It's Halloween, and 17-year-old Tiffany (Diamond White) is determined to go to a raucous frat party with her friends. Her dad, Brian (Tyler Perry), is just as determined that she not go anywhere near the place. So he calls in Madea (also Perry) to stay the night and help keep an eye on Tiffany. But when she disappears, and the house is invaded by ghosts and ghouls, it's up to Madea to save the day in BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN -- if she can manage not to get too spooked herself.
Is it any good?
This inert installment in the Madea franchise is proof that Perry may have just hit a wall -- or is phoning it in. Though past Madea films have garnered decidedly mixed reviews, they were often still laced with enough can't-help-but-laugh jokes to keep fans returning for yet another dose of Madea's tough-love "wisdom.”
But Boo! A Madea Halloween has very few zingers that actually land and enough cliches -- "bro" frat boys, insolent teenagers, college kids with no clue -- to fill a whole series of movies. And the supposedly "scary funny" parts are neither scary nor funny. Which isn't to say that Boo! doesn’t have a few small charms: The main character herself is still as spunky and winning as ever. Too bad she doesn't have much to work with here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Madea movies are so popular. What's the character's appeal? How does Boo! A Madea Halloween compare to previous movies?
One of the characters really likes to smoke pot. Do you think the film glamorizes her habit?
How does the film deal with parenting and communication? What do you think about Brian's relationship with Tiffany? Does she respect him? What kind of parenting advice does Madea give Brian, and how does it differ from his own ideas of raising children?
- In theaters: October 21, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: January 31, 2017
- Cast: Tyler Perry, Bella Thorne
- Director: Tyler Perry
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Holidays, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: drug use and references, suggestive content, language, some horror images and thematic material
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.