Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas Movie Poster Image
Joyless holiday comedy tackles race and class with clichés.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's best message is that love is color blind, and that you fall in love with a person, not their entire race. But the movie also has positive messages about the importance of being honest with your parents (and vice versa), how you should never humiliate or act ashamed of the person you love, and how Christmas is both a religious and secular holiday.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Madea, for all her flaws, is honest and open-minded. She keeps encouraging Eileen to give Lacey space and let her live her life. She's also accepting of Lacey and Conner's marriage. Conner and his parents go out of their way to make their daughter-in-law happy. Eileen, on the other hand, is very racist and classist, as the obvious foil in the film.

Violence

Madea makes a joke about shooting someone who tells a racist joke. She's frightened after stumbling into a KKK meeting. A man is in a car accident and is saved right before his truck catches fire. A father seems borderline abusive to his son and his wife. Madea jokingly threatens to punch and kill people.

Sex

Madea makes a joke about being "horizontal" with two famous Civil Rights activists. Lacey and Conner kiss a couple of times. Buddy makes references to Kim's behind, boobs, and sex life. They are "caught" playing a game where he covers himself with a sheet and looks like a ghost in bed, but they're interrupted before anything risque happens. References to "red light district," the town whorehouse, foreskin, and lingerie.

Language

Commonly used words include "damn," "hell," and the occasional "bulls--t," as well as insults like "whore," "stupid," "liar," "tramp," and "redneck."

Consumerism

Car brands such as Land Rover, Ford, Cadillac.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Madea jokes that she used to sell trees that make you happy when you smoke them; later she asks if the farm is growing marijuana. Jokes about Viagra and family moonshine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas is a holiday comedy featuring Perry's signature character, Madea. Based on Perry's Christmas play, the movie features issues like religious versus secular celebrations of Christmas, interracial relationships in the deep South, and honesty between parents and children. Language includes "damn," "hell," "whore" and other insults, and there are several references to and jokes about sex (mentions of a whorehouse, Viagra, foreskin, role playing, etc.) and race (KKK meeting, disparaging remarks about rednecks, and the horrified way a black mother acts when her daughter reveals she's married to "the help"). As for the holiday cheer, the movie advocates for religious representations of the season and for accepting that love shouldn't see color or class.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3 year old Written byhopeshadows84 December 16, 2013

Kudos to a Madea's Christmas

Great movie and message. You will be laughing so hard you will have tears coming out. =) Kudos Tyler Perry.
Adult Written byMisty T. January 7, 2017

Hilarious!!!!

This was THE BEST and FUNNIEST movie Tyler Perry has created thus far. Not sure why it received such low ratings. Have to have a sense of humor and not be eas... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 15, 2013

This wonderful Madea holiday special is full of emotion and positive messages

This installment of Tyler Perry's Madea series is not full of that rude humor that is found in the previous movies (well, there is some of it). Instead, Ma... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylinas101 December 14, 2013

not for 2+ of coarse

do my eyes decive me or does common sense seriously say on for 2 and up

What's the story?

When TYLER PERRY'S A MADEA CHRISTMAS begins, Madea(Tyler Perry) is in need of a job, so her niece Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) gets her a retail gig at a Macy's-like department store. When Eileen finds out that her daughter Lacey isn't going to visit her for Christmas, Eileen enlists Madea to accompany her to the "country" (rural Alabama) to surprise Lacey (Tika Sumpter) for the holiday. Lacey, an elementary school teacher, tries to save her adopted hometown's annual Christmas jubilee by asking her well-connected ex-boyfriend Oliver (JR Lemon) to find a sponsor. But her bigger problem is that she's married to Conner (Eric Lively), a white agricultural engineer she pretends is her "farm hand" when her mother and Aunt Madea show up unexpectedly. When Conner's parents (Larry the Cable Guy and Kathy Najimy) -- who do know about the elopement -- arrive from Louisiana, they also agree to play along for Lacey's sake. As Eileen's treatment of Conner and his folks goes from aloof to rude, Madea forces Lacey to finally stand up to her mother on Christmas.

Is it any good?

Overall, this holiday installment (which includes, no lie, digital Christmas present wipes in between scenes) is one of Perry's worst executed Madea movies. But let's start with the good: Najimy and Larry the Cable Guy do elicit laughs as the surprisingly open-minded "country folks" who love the beautiful Lacey and can see why she's a good match for their handsome college-educated son. They might look like bigots, Perry is saying, but they're the progressive ones when it comes to the interracial relationship. Despite changing things up by having the black parent be the prejudiced one (please see Something New for a much better example of this twist on the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner trope), the issue is handled with heavy handed stereotypes and cliches. And it also makes Lacey infinitely less likable as a character, because what kind of person forces their loving, ridiculously handsome husband and his loving parents to pretend they're a paid employee and his poor parents?

Seeing Larry the Cable Guy go joke-for-joke with Tyler Perry is novel for a couple of moment, but really he and Najimy are the only ones who are consistently funny, since poor Madea has to spend most of the movie compensating for or chastising her killjoy of a niece Eileen, who is not only racist but also classist and insensitive and downright cruel. The only moment that redeems her is late in Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas. There's no real joy and laughter for most of it, and at the end everything and everyone is magically happy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the pervasiveness of Christmas-themed movies and TV specials such as A Madea Christmas. Why do you think there are so many? How does this Madea comedy fit into the genre?

  • What do you think about the twist on the interracial relationship? Are references to interracial romance still rare?

  • Why do you think Madea movies are so popular? What are this film's messages about love and Christmas?

Movie details

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