Well, I did say it: Boo! A Madea Halloween was not that bad. I guess that’s the kind of bold statement that deserves a challenge and Tyler Perry’s putting me to the test with a sequel so it’s time to play everyone’s favourite game show: Can. She. Cope?!?!?!!
The short answer is: yes.
The surprising answer is: I’m starting to find Madea and her little crew of cronies quite endearing. Well, I think Madea (Tyler Perry), Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and Hattie (Patrice Lovely) are endearing. Old Joe (also Perry) I could really do without – he’s a horny old bastard who’s hard on his sister Madea and inappropriate with young women, or women generally I suppose. But the trio of old biddies are quite sweet even if they’re often salty. Tyler Perry can say pretty much anything through them. He gets the chance to wear lipstick and support hose but he can also circumvent certain boundaries (and not just because he towers over his costars). This was his ninth time playing Madea (he retired her after his tenth) and I imagine it’s quite freeing to strap on her brassiere. Society has a tendency to muzzle and censor people of colour, and I think black people in particular have lacked safe spaces in which to express their anger and even their befuddlement. Madea is that safe space, which Perry has gifted to his community. Making her an older woman neuters her, renders her nonthreatening by definition, but Madea has always had a strong voice and she’s not afraid to use it.
Perry also plays a single father named Brian, who continues to struggle to raise his teenage daughter Tiffany. In the first Boo!, Tiffany snuck away to a frat party even though she was underage and expressly forbidden. Madea was forced to follow her there and you can imagine how well that went. In Boo 2!, Tiffany is now turned 18 and determined to pull a mulligan on that Halloween frat party, which has now been relocated out in an old farm house where people were recently murdered. Brian swallows his fears and allows her to go, but Madea is sure she knows better, so she and her posse of elderly super heroes play spy.
Boo 2! is not a scary Halloween movie and it loses traction when Madea isn’t on screen. Perry has said that he’s officially hung up his wig after after A Madea Family Funeral, which deserves a funeral in and of itself, he clearly being extremely comfortable in this character’s skin (and skirt, and glasses, and pearls). Madea films haven’t always been well reviewed, but they make money because Perry always finds his audience. I’m sure she will be missed.