Tyler Perrys Madeas Family Reunion

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1/2

Cast: Tyler Perry, Blair Underwood, Lynn Whitfield, Boris Kodjoe, Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelou. Comedy/drama. Written & directed by Tyler Perry.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Chapter two of Madeas adventures has the zaftig Black grandma (once again played by Tyler Perry) overseeing and correcting wayward family members. Like my grandma did, Madea takes in the unloved related or not then proceeds to set them straight with doses of tough love, common sense and plenty of biblical truths. The subplots include a woman about to marry her rich, handsome live-in boyfriend, despite the fact that he beats her; her sister, unable to commit to a relationship due to being sexually abused as a child and basically discarded by her money-hungry mother; and a rebellious preteen girl coming to live with Madea.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Critics were not given a screening, neither the studio nor the films star eager for a lesson in movie making. By the fact that Mr. Perrys film made over $30 million during its opening weekend, the snub was probably a wise one well, for the filmmakers. Whenever a studio ignores the press, you can consider it a slight to the movie-going public, as well. Most of my comrades in criticism later found the production ill conceived, badly structured and over simplistic. I must admit the blending of spousal abuse with broad physical comedy was handled clumsily, the result a bit bizarre (we have the poetry of Maya Angelou mixed with extended flatulence jokes from a cantankerous grandfather).

Last year I gave a positive review to Mr. Perrys first endeavor, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, despite the visual awkwardness of a young man in granny drag. I did so mainly because the writer/director/actor/producer was fearless about incorporating the gospel and for expressing the need for Jesus in our daily lives.

I also wanted to stand behind this production because those same spiritual truths were attempted. Sadly, here those principles are presented more like a lame Sunday school lesson for 6th graders than as a serious instruction for those needing to hear them. Then there are the mixed messages. Mr. Perrys script preaches sexual abstinence before marriage, but then blends in the crude sexual humor. And several times we see a brutal man slapping his fiance, while in one scene Medea whips a teen girl with a thick belt. One is abuse, the other tough love, but no less jarring.

Its not a bad movie, but it fails to capture the sincerity of the first installment. In that comedy/drama the central characters found solace, redemption, forgiveness and recovery.

Throughout, there was an acknowledgement of God and a testament for the need of Christ to bring fulfillment. Those themes were never forced, their proselytizing designs always taking a backseat to the entertainment, which gave them more credence. In Reunion the Christian teachings are undermined by crudity and naivet. That said, it is a film that celebrates the love between man and woman and presents Christians in a good light.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Lion's Gate

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: This rather strange film has a mix of solid biblical teaching mixed with fart jokes and other crudities. Old men make suggestive remarks when three teen girls in short shorts walk by. This sets off a scene replete with sexual innuendo as an old man videotapes one of the unsuspecting young girls.

Obscene Language: There are 5 or so uses of the s-word; there are 6 or so expletives.

Profanity: There is no misuse of Gods name, but at one point the lead character tells her brother to go to hell.

Violence: Several times an abusive man slaps, grabs or threatens his intended bride. Later he is doused with scalding grits then hit repeatedly with a huge skillet. Madea spanks a wayward teen with a belt. She also beats a smart-mouth teen on a school bus. This scene is played for laughs, but the visual is startling and the message dangerous.

Sex: None. One couple live together, but it is implied that those following their faith develop relationships, saving sex for the wedding night.

Nudity: None.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Uncle Joe, the flatulence offender, also says startling comments on several occasions referring to sexual acts.

Drugs: Some drinking, but not by those developing their faith. Uncle Joe talks about smoking weed in one scene.

Other: While the film is funny and full of biblical teachings, some may find Mr. Perrys inclusion of crudity and sexual humor off-putting.

Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.