HOLLYWOOD—After more than 14 years of portraying an iconic character on the big screen, Tyler Perry has finally decided to hang up the dress for portraying the smart-mouthed, gun totting character Mabel ‘Madea’ Simmons. Perry has resumed the role of Madea for his final appearance of the character in the latest comedy “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral.” The question that everyone wants to know is rather the comedy is all hilarity or awkward fervor.
The movie does indeed have laughs and brings the level of comedy and high-jinx antics that fans of Perry have come to expect from his movies. Not to mention this iconic character. The witty and scene-stealing moments that were once staples in Perry’s earlier flicks are not evident here. The jokes used to revolve around the narrative, while in “A Madea Family Funeral,” the narrative revolves around the jokes.
The plot follows a family patriarch, Anthony (Derek Morgan) who takes his last breath while secretly hooking up with someone else who is NOT his wife on the day of his wedding anniversary. How ironic right? This later spills over to more drama for the family as it appears Anthony wasn’t the only one sneaking out on his wife, as his son A.J (Courtney Burrell) is cheating on his wife Carol (AJ Smith).
That woman, Gia (Aerial Miranda) happens to be married to AJ’s brother Jessie (Rome Flynn). Yeah, this family has a complicated history of cheating culprits. The impending funeral sets the stage for all those secrets to come to roost being aired out in hilarious, yet dramatic fashion. Perry carries the film with his multi-portrayal of four characters, Joe, Brian and the newly created Heathrow, a double amputee and war veteran, who happens to be Madea and Joe’s brother. Let’s just say Perry should have introduced this character to the mix a lot sooner because his antics are pure hilarity.
Staples in Perry’s universe, Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and Hattie (Patrice Lovely) appear in this film as well. They have appeared in several of Perry’s most recent comedies and their characters have expired in my opinion on the laughs. They push the joke a bit too much instead of allowing them to naturally come to the surface; thankfully Perry interjects to bring the focus back to where it needs to be: family and a bit of truth, but delivered with a blow of laughter along the way.
In addition to portraying multiple characters, Perry also takes on the role of writer, producer and director of the flick. Simply put he wears a lot of hats in his flicks, so many to the point that the punch of laughter and truth that he delivered in earlier flicks are not as direct as audiences come to expect. Considering this is the swan song of his iconic character, Madea, I wanted a bit more. Could the matriarch make her return to the big screen in the near future? Perhaps, it all depends on what Perry can cook up that not only delivers the laughs, but brings a fresh take to the audience. Giving us something we haven’t seen before.