Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral (2019) Review:
Ding Dong The Witch Is DEAD
For a moment, the wool was pulled over my eyes. As the film began, I watched as 4 grown adults planned an anniversary party for their parents in their senior years. The characters on screen reveal their connection to one another in subtle ways, and wonderfully sow the seeds for what will be future familial conflict in the film.
For a moment, it seems Tyler Perry has rediscovered the relative quality of his earlier films. There is mention of the titular Madea, but only as a side character. One character even dreads her arrival for the evenings festivities, to which another responds, “Yeah they might be a lot, but they’re family. And they’re funny!”. It almost feels like the self awareness one would need to send off an iconic character in her supposed last film.
Too bad it only lasted for a moment. After only 4 minutes, ‘Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral’ reveals just what kind of movie it’s going to be. It does this with the introduction of Heathrow, the brother of Madea played by Tyler Perry. Heathrow is a legless parapalegic, with one upper tooth, and speaks using an electrolarynx. He’s obnoxious, and serves only as a wild card to make the other characters react. That’s the balance of the film. At one point it provides a decent family drama, only to be interrupted by a disruptive element, typically played by Tyler Perry.
Then there are the moments that are truly a chore to watch. Especially for this near 2 hour film. The scenes with Madea, Joe, Hattie, and Bam, sitting around bantering off one another, are borderline excruciating. The dialogue itself is repetitive, but the truly insufferable element is the voice of Patrice Lovely’s Hattie. The affectation she gives the character is so high pitched and grating, it makes nails on a chalkboard sound melodic. Of the films hour and 50 minute runtime, it feels as though these scenes collectively make up 3 hours.
It’s not as though the rest of the film is much better, but its the lesser of two evils. Given the choice between Tyler Perry’s take on the black lives matter movement, which is handled abhoringly in one particular scene, I would much rather watch the soap opera antics of characters played by largely unknown actors. The biggest sin of these scenes is that they’re predictable, and have performances that leave something to be desired. At the very least they’re watchable. To give credit where it’s due, Perry’s take on sitting in a black funeral is spot on, and is truly the only inspired commentary in the entire film.
In fact, that’s the best I can say for the film is that, for all its lazy writing, bad acting and truly insufferable characters, a few shining moments keep it from being an abomination. As someone who sat through Boo, and Boo 2, ‘A Madea Family Funeral’ was a movie to die for.
Rating: Catch It On Cable.