Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family



Predictable but occasionally funny comedy has adult themes.
  • Review Date: April 22, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although family relationships can be messy, hurtful, and dysfunctional, the movie makes the point that love and faith can see families through the worst circumstances.

Positive role models

The matriarch at the heart of this dysfunctional family is pious and kind-hearted to a fault; she lets her own kids disrespect her even when she’s at the most difficult junction of her life. Her patience is amazing, as is her willingness to accept her children for who they are. On the down side, many women are portrayed as shrewish, and some characters place a lot of value on owning nice things and having lots of money to purchase them.


Men joke about shutting up their wives; a woman disciplines everyone, even kids, with insults and slaps. The same character rams her car into a fast food restaurant and pelts a worker with food. A brief discussion about how an uncle raped his niece. Lots of yelling.


A retiree attempts to fondle a doctor in an examination room. Much discussion about baby mamas and their attempts to figure out the father of their children. A few innuendoes.


One "s--t," plus “damn,” “ho,” “hell,” "ass," “jackass,” "oh my God," and a number of bleeped-out words during one scene meant to take place on a TV show.


Mention of Mercedes Benz.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character smokes weed like a chimney; another character reluctantly sells drugs.

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?


There’s nothing about TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY that you haven’t seen before 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 22, 2011
DVD release date:August 30, 2011
Cast:Bow Wow, David Mann, Loretta Devine, Tyler Perry
Director:Tyler Perry
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:drug content, language and some mature thematic material

This review of Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byerica921 May 14, 2011
Adult Written byTheTrillonaire August 9, 2014

Another Funny Tyler Perry Movie

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byilikepie367 January 5, 2014

Really Funny

I couldn't stop laughing
What other families should know
Too much sex


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