|Directed by||:||Tyler Perry||Produced by||:||Tyler Perry, Ozzie Areu, Will Areu||Starring||:||Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely||Production company||:||Tyler Perry Studios||Country||:||United States|
Boo 2! A Madea Halloween doesn’t even deserve its own exclamation point
The grim reaper needs to fire his agent. Though the humanoid manifestation of death has drawn acclaim for minor yet memorable roles in such fine films as The Seventh Seal and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, he’s now been reduced to slumming it with a cameo in Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, a sequel so wholly anodyne that it doesn’t even deserve its exclamation point. We know Death’s got range—the guy’s a consummate pro, comfortably shifting between drama and gallows humor—but writer/director/star/despot Tyler Perry proves unable to meet him halfway with a film funny or frightening enough to give his estimable talents a workout. He simply materializes and stands idle, looking every bit as hopelessly out of place among his surrounding mediocrity as Anthony Hopkins dodging Decepticons.
Or as Madea herself might say, “Get that name outcha mouth ’fore I smack it out for ya.” The famously cantankerous matriarch’s distinctive speech pattern singlehandedly props up this film’s tired approximation of levity, the lone source of laughs in what we were told would be a comedy. The enduring hilarity of Madea’s funny-talk is chief among a handful of truths that her franchise holds as immutable: the absolute sanctity of family and religion, respect for even the most ill-tempered elders, the unfailing foolishness of white folks. The franchise can graft these notions onto any milieu or genre Perry figures he can wring a few bucks out of, from jail to witness protection to Christmas, and, only last year, Halloween. But because that film ended up as the second-highest-grossing in the Madea cycle, the sequel mandate couldn’t be avoided. So here we are again, trick-or-treating at the house that gave out raisins last time around, hoping against hope.
Perry clearly subscribes to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy of filmmaking, returning to the previous installment’s tack of pitting Madea and her geriatric peanut gallery (Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely, and Chandra Currelley-Young) against folks in generic slasher getups. The homicidal clowns have been replaced with a PriceRite version of Sadako from The Ring and a Leatherface/My Bloody Valentine miner hybrid, and former star Bella Thorne has left for Netflix-er pastures, but all else remains unchanged. Madea’s still an accessory to a story that’s ultimately focused on the bond between trying-his-best single dad Brian (Perry again) and prissy teen daughter Tiffany (Diamond White). And true to form, Madea’s here to cock-block her granddaughter.