Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Tyler Perry dramedy is very similar to its predecessors, with lots of family dysfunction and some fairly adult themes amid the jokes -- including questions about paternity, drug abuse, and drug dealing, marital woes, and references to rape. There’s a fair amount of swearing, though no F-bombs, and one character loves to smoke weed. Nevertheless, there are also a lot of discussions about faith, forgiveness, and the importance of family.
What's the story?
Madea’s (Tyler Perry) niece, Shirley (Loretta Devine), needs her help. Her cancer is back, and the prognosis isn’t good. Shirley would like to tell her children the news over dinner, but they all seem embroiled in their own personal dramas. Shirley's youngest, Byron (Shad ''Bow Wow" Moss), is trying to steer clear of drug dealing and make a go of it with a legit job, but his son’s mother (Teyana Taylor) and his girlfriend (Lauren London) are both hassling him to make more money. Shirley's daughter Tammy (Natalie Desselle Reid) can’t stop haranguing her husband (Rodney Perry) even as they let their sons run amok. And Shirley's other daughter, Kimberly (Shannon Kane), a perpetually frustrated real estate broker, won’t make time for her husband, her son, or the rest of her family. Madea to the rescue!
Is it any good?
You've seen it all in other Perry movies: juvenile jokes, marital woes, family strife, uplifting singing, and the pushy, bombastic, and sometimes wonderful Madea. Refreshing and surprising this movie is not, so if innovation and vision are what you’re looking for, you’ll have to move on. What's more, feminists may be taken aback by the shrewish portrayal of most of the women, and how their deference toward their husbands is not-so-subtly advised as the key to marital bliss.
The movie feels a bit schizophrenic: Serious issues are fodder for jokes, while funny moments suddenly take a dramatic turn. Still, there’s something appealing about Perry’s freewheeling style. Anything can happen, and anything does happen: cancer, skeletons in closets, drug deals, Maury Povich leading paternity fights, a rousing church service. For Madea fans, it's just another day at the movies.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about family. What does family mean to you? What faults can you accept among family members? Which are harder to go along with?
What is the film saying about the role of faith in helping people face hardships?
Does the movie reinforce or undermine any stereotypes?