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Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween

In theaters October 21, 2016

Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry. Let’s just get that out of the way early. Why type his name three times in a row right off the bat? Take your pick. It could be because Tyler Perry is the director, writer and co-producer. It could be because as an actor, he plays three distinctively different roles. It also could be because I’m playing to strengthen the SEO numbers because everyone knows that the name Tyler Perry is an internet traffic magnet. Although if that were the case I’d be tempted to throw in Clinton Trump WikiLeaks, but I’m not that guy. Madea is a…um…woman on the move as she’s always into something. She’s gone to a reunion, jail, been part of a big happy family, went into witness protection, got a job, celebrated Christmas and even had to deal with neighbors from hell. What could possibly be next for Mabel “Madea” Simmons? It looks like it’s time for some Hellurween humor in Boo! A Madea Halloween. Don’t be scurred.

April Fool’s Day may be the nationally recognized day of the year for jokes and tomfoolery but when Madea (Tyler Perry) is involved, there are 364 other viable options. Boo! A Madea Halloween takes everyone’s aunt on a thrill ride through Scare-ville. Brian (Tyler Perry) has his hands full dealing with a strong-willed teenage daughter in a home without a female influence. Tiffany (Diamond White) is bound and determined to not allow her overbearing father hinder her desire to make a name for herself with an older crowd. An opportunity presents itself in the form of a college frat party that Tiffany fully plans on attending even at her father’s strong protest. Brian calls in trusted reinforcements to help his cause. Madea, Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), Hattie (Patrice Lovely) and Uncle Joe (Tyler Perry) all agree to watch over Tiffany for the night while Brian is gone. With her begrudgingly willing friend Aday (Liza Koshy) by her side, Tiffany sets a plan in motion that sets off a hilarious chain reaction of events throughout the night.

Madea is by far Tyler Perry’s most notable character. Even if you’ve never seen a movie featuring this silver-tongued lady, you have some vague recollection of what she’s about. For some people, Boo! A Madea Halloween is all about seeing what this familiar crazy cast of characters have gotten themselves into this time. For others, this may finally be the first time that you’ve even given Tyler Perry a chance. Either way, there are a couple of facts that you might find interesting. First, and probably most importantly, Chris Rock is the reason that this movie was made. He made a joke in his 2014 comedy Top Five and referenced a fictitious Tyler Perry movie called Boo! A Madea Halloween. Rather than getting uptight and litigious as some studios seem to get, Lionsgate approached Perry and said “you HAVE TO make this film.” Also, this is the first time that Madea, Hattie and Aunt Bam have appeared in a feature film together.

As a person that seeks talent from all types of platforms, it should really come as no surprise that many of the supporting cast members aren’t considered full fledged actors. Diamond White, who plays Tyler Perry’s daughter, was a finalist on Fox’s The X-Factor. Liza Koshy who plays Tiffany’s BFF Aday got her start on Vine and then gained even more notoriety from her YouTube videos. And speaking of YouTube, many of the other talents are extremely popular on the online video sharing platform. Just search Yousef Erakat or Lexy Panterra on the site. Bella Thorne became a breakout television star in The Disney Channel’s Shake It Up! which aired for three seasons. There’s a reason that nearly 25% of all minority basic cable shows are attributed to Tyler Perry. He’s willing to take chances on people that might otherwise go unknown. That goes a long way when it comes to budgetary purposes which tends to make the bean counters smile at the various studios. After all money is money.

When it comes to profitability, Tyler Perry is a good bet due to his huge following. That being said, it does not guarantee that every one of his works is worthy of praise. Sticking with Boo! A Madea Halloween, the overall feel of the film is that of a positive one, just not overwhelmingly. The quality of acting is pretty uneven, and at times, hard to watch when you’re hoping for a solid film. This can be attributed to his method of casting so grade with a curve. Act of Valor (2012) comes to mind because they opted to use actual U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen for much of the movie. The realism was unparalleled on the action front (using live munitions didn’t hurt that cause), but the acting was like walking through a minefield blindfolded in high heels when it came to the dialogue.

In the end, Tyler Perry delivers another funny hit that touches on the side of seriousness in how a parent might struggle to reach his or her child as well as the situation being reversed. Scenes that featured Madea, Brian, Joe, Hattie and Bam were the high points of this 103 minute comedy horror with a dash of drama. The other actors leave a lot to be desired. Younger audiences will have much more tolerance I’d suspect. Those expecting a more typical type of film might be turned off by some of the quality. While this isn’t some side clinching laugh from start to finish type movie, Boo! A Madea Halloween entertains enough to keep those cheek muscles from getting too stiff.

Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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