Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family Movie Poster Image
Predictable but occasionally funny comedy has adult themes.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.

Consumerism

Mention of Mercedes Benz.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family is a dramedy 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written bycolten97 May 12, 2011
Predictable but occasionally funny comedy has adult themes.
Adult Written byIam Noone April 25, 2011

Hit or Miss, Leave the kids at home

I think it's time to retire Medea. The opening 10 minutes is laced with such buffoonery. Four people walked out the first five minutes. I think there wa... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byerica921 May 14, 2011
Teen, 13 years old Written byJustino4 April 25, 2011

Suitable, But Bad

There's a lot of talk about sex, drugs and family conflict that is depressing. All of which is used constantly throughout the movie including cussing that... Continue reading

What's the story?

In TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, 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.

Madea's Big Happy Family 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the messages about family in Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy 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

For kids who love drama and comedy

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