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 Madea's Tough Love is a slapstick, animated version of Perry's continuing series of popular "Madea" films. Madea, an African-American, white-haired, comic busybody, is played by (or, in this case, voiced by) male actor Tyler Perry. Past live-action movies have some mature themes, but this one has been designed for a younger audience. Madea's goal is to save the Moms Mabley Community Center, a refuge for adorable street kids, and share life-affirming lessons with her charges. Madea has a number of skirmishes with local police (Madea calls them "po-po"), but it's good-natured and the police are always good guys. Requisite rude insults ("blockhead," "stupid," "you look like a fart") go along with some potty humor (body odor, wet pants, and pee jokes). The cartoon action includes speedy car chases, Madea pummeling the feckless Joe (a regular "biddy's buddy"), and ceilings falling in. One nightmare sequence has some scary visuals: Shadowy ghost-like figures menace two kids, and a little boy falls into black. Key characters are African-American.
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What's the story?
In TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S TOUGH LOVE, Madea (voiced by Tyler Perry) can't help herself: She's in trouble again. She finds herself under house arrest with an ankle bracelet meant to keep her at home. But when Madea finds out that the Moms Mabley Community Center is in danger of closing and that the slick mayoral candidate Betsy Holiday (Roland Watts) plans to turn it into yet another shopping mall, she can't just stay home and behave. All it will take to bring the center up to code and make it a fabulous place for the six adorable waifs who hang out there is winning the upcoming Youth Games; the $25,000 prize will make all the difference. So with the police constantly chasing her down, the kids testing her unending patience, and her perennial accomplices at her side, Madea takes on the justice system, corporate corruption, Betsy Holiday, and "The Man" behind the candidate.
Is it any good?
Tyler Perry will never earn any awards for subtlety with his larger-than-life Madea character, but she's one of those people who grow on you; she's funnier as you get to know her. Already winning huge audiences with his live-action Madea movies, Perry turns his attention to the younger set with Tyler Perry's Madea's Tough Love . He's dialed down the language, the innuendo, sexual situations, and drug references. And, for the most part, it works. The story couldn't be more conventional ("let's win the competition to save the day"); the resolution couldn't be more predictable (along the way, viewers wonder, will the community center get a new life? Will the homeless children find a home?), but getting there is fun, with appealing kid characters, a semi-inventive villainess, and plenty of farcical action. And the messages, plainspoken and on the nose, will resonate with kids and parents alike.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the character of Madea in Tyler Perry's Madea's Tough Love. How do the filmmakers keep her likable even though she's often gruff, bossy, loud, and intimidating? Give some examples that show her kinder side.
Madea says, "If you don't try, you've already lost." Do you agree with this statement? How might remembering these words be valuable to you?
At the film's end, Tyler Perry sets up his audience for another Madea animated movie. How does he do this? How can you, as an audience member, recognize when a sequel is being promoted?
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