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 A Madea Family Funeral is supposedly the final entry in the long-running Madea series created by and starring Tyler Perry. There's plenty of iffy stuff, but there are also well-intentioned messages about the importance of family, respect, and honesty. Most of the mature content is in the form of jokes: about marijuana, about "pimps" and "hos," about violence toward women ("Only time I punch a bitch is when she say something I don't like!" says one male character), about whether an angry-seeming white cop is going to shoot a car full of seniors, and so on. Two elderly male characters (both played by Perry) leer at women, making remarks about the women's attractiveness (and their backsides). At one point, one tells an attractive woman that she's more deserving of kind treatment than an "ugly woman." Characters are shown in bed kissing in their underwear and heard having a riotous bondage-style encounter; a woman is later shown in a black corset. Men are frequently shown shirtless. A man pushes a woman during an argument, and a dead man is shown repeatedly. Madea repeatedly slaps others in the face, at one point knocking someone's dentures loose. A wife tolerates her husband's infidelity for decades and finally explains why in a powerful, relatable speech. Characters drink and refer to smoking; one has had his larynx removed, which family members blame on his smoking. Language is frequent: "ass," "hell," "bitch"," "goddamn," etc.
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What's the story?
Tough-talking grandma Madea returns for A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL, which creator/star Tyler Perry has said will be his last Madea movie. This time, Madea (Perry), her brothers Joe and Heathrow (also Perry), and a giant cast of family and friends are getting together to pay respects to a recently departed family member. But when secrets threaten to tear the family apart, Madea has to do what she does best: straighten out the misguided and the ignorant and celebrate (and mock) everyone else.
Is it any good?
Fans of Perry's long-running Madea series will be happy to know that his alter ego acquits herself nobly in what may be her final outing. Madea visits a new branch of the family this time, but a few of her loved ones follow, most notably the retirement home Greek chorus Auntie Bam (Cassi Davis), Hattie (Patrice Lovely), and Joe. Half the movie is just an excuse to get these four sitting together and talking -- and they're so funny that you won't mind. Like most Perry/Madea movies, Funeral is a straightforward morality tale: A cheating husband dies in the midst of a hotel room hookup, while his son and his other son's fiancee are coincidentally doing their own illicit thing in the room next door. For the rest of the movie, Madea, Hattie, Bam, and Joe are trying to keep a lid on this information, all while telling what they know while younger characters dismiss them as doddering old fools.
The story's dueling sex scandals play out in a series of comic setpieces: Madea's son Brian (also played by Perry) gets pulled over by an angry white cop while the senior quartet urges him to take off. Madea throws an eight-hour funeral. An anniversary party goes wrong. It's all very silly, but Madea is a scream, alternately throwing out wisdom about how black folks do things, doling out homilies about grief, and getting off some ripping insults. For instance, when her brother Heathrow (a new character who's a double amputee in a wheelchair with a Jheri curl and an electrolarynx he uses to talk) expresses concern about his one remaining top tooth after being hit in the face, she says: "I get him some corn, he'll just do the one row." The comedy is a little dirty at times -- there's lots of leering at female characters' backsides and plenty of jokes about pimps and hos, as well as weed -- but ultimately Madea and company are sweet and get the ending they deserve. There are lots of worse ways to say goodbye than this funny film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about A Madea Family Funeral's messages about family, loyalty, and kindness. What mistakes do the characters make? How are characters rewarded or punished for their choices? How does Madea help or hurt these lessons?
Why do you think Tyler Perry is so popular? Have you seen his other movies? What do they have in common? Who are they targeted at, and why do they appeal to that audience? Do you like him better as his character Madea or as a "regular" actor? Why?
This movie has mixed messages about women: Some are referred to as "hos" and reduced to objects to admire; others are strong and complex, such as a wife who stays with her philandering husband to protect her children. What do you make of this divide? How does this movie view its female characters: Are they all worthy of respect and dignity? Why or why not?
- In theaters: March 1, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: June 3, 2019
- Cast: Tyler Perry, Patrice Lovely, Cassi Davis
- Director: Tyler Perry
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content, language, and drug references throughout
- Last updated: December 21, 2019
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