It’s too bad we get a Halloween comedy, but it’s a man who’s based his entire career around a character tailored for religious audiences. I’m not saying the religious can’t celebrate Halloween, but Tyler Perry seems to center his movie on the holiday for absolutely no reason other than grabbing October crowds. “Boo! A Madea Halloween” isn’t a bad movie by any stretch, but it is Tyler Perry’s most unfocused and tonally inconsistent. Perry has no idea how to handle the aesthetic of Halloween. He can’t even use it as a means of conveying what could have been a very touching story about a dad who is trying to gain control of his increasingly out of control daughter. Halloween is more of an after thought here.
Most times Perry doesn’t know if he’s making a Madea movie, a family comedy, a frat comedy, or a horror comedy. He instead aims to include as many of these elements in a film clocking in at a little over a hundred minutes. Set on the night before Halloween, “Boo! A Madea Halloween” focuses on single dad Brian, as played by Perry, whose rebellious daughter Tiffany is dead set on attending a Halloween party at a local fraternity. Incapable of getting the slightest respect from her, Brian has to go out of town and acquires the help of crabby Madea (Perry), her husband (Perry again) and her two eccentric friends to help care for Tiffany. What begins as a normal babysitting job transforms in to a night of adventure, as Tiffany sneaks out, prompting Madea and her pals to experience all kinds of unusual antics involving disrespectful college students and trick or treaters.
Along the way, Perry does include some fun gags that grabbed a chuckle out of me. There’s a hilarious joke involving Cassi Davis’ character stealing candy from unsuspecting trick or treaters, and Madea punching out a clown who is intent on pranking her. When Madea and her friends realize Tiffany is missing, they go looking for her, winding up in the college party scene, and a lot of the jokes are rapid fire; most of them rarely stick, though. There’s a ton of improv, a lot of jokes involving dancing and various costumes, and a joke about Madea getting young men to touch her bare breasts in a joke that goes on way too long. There’s a nice family dramedy tucked away here somewhere, I wish Perry spent more time on that, and less on a sub-plot involving an elaborate prank that goes nowhere. I doubt “A Madea Halloween” will bring in new fans, but for loyal followers, it’ll guarantee a laugh or two and Madea is still a gruff but wise figure.