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Movie Review: "Madea's Family Reunion" (2006)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
"Madea's Family Reunion" is one of the worst sequels ever made. If this bothers you, please go to an idiot's review that states "Madea's Family Reunion" is one of the best sequels ever made. With that said, I'd like to state for the record that this review is not an attack on black cinema in general or any of that racial nonsense, this is an attack on quality filmmaking. You spend your money, you expect quality in return, capiche?
For those of you who are familiar with my previous reviews on other black movies, I'm sure you'll understand where I'm coming from with the above. For those of you who are new and are quick to judge this as race thing, let me give you a news flash... GOOD BLACK MOVIES HARDLY EXIST ANYMORE! We may get them once in a while (i.e. "Training Day") but stuff like "Madea's Family Reunion" doesn't count. Sorry, but the days of "The Color Purple", "The People Under The Stairs", and "Do The Right Thing" are long gone. Now we're forced to watch transvestite comedians walk around in drags on the big screen while Bow Wow forces an attempt at acting.
All right, my fellow readers, let's get right down to this turd of a movie. "Madea's Family Reunion" nearly follows the same exact formula as "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". We have a rich abusive husband with the innocent wife, a heaven-sent guy who resembles Mr. Right, a date at poetry nightclub with Mr. Right, and yet another over-the-top finale set inside a church-like setting.
The similarities are many here, albeit with a few minor differences and an extra character or two here and there, but hey, I'll entertain you and pretend as if this is all new crap. Lisa is about to marry a rich son of a gun named Carlos, he's very picky and likes hitting her to teach her a lesson. Lisa's mother is another spoiled brat whose financial future desperately depends upon her daughter marrying Carlos.
On the other side of the fence is Vanessa, Lisa's sister. She's a single mom with two kids and doesn't believe in romance anymore. That is until Frankie steps into her life, he's also a single dad with one kid, and he happens to be very nice... Get it? Good.
In the midst of all this soap opera drama is Madea, Grandpa Madea, her lawyer, and a hood-rat foster child who needs discipline.
"Madea's Family Reunion" opens with an artful dream sequence in which Lisa dreams of Carlos treating her to a homemade spa (when in reality, he's a woman hitter), followed by a slow romantic melody song. If I were to guess, this was a black romance drama based on this opening sequence alone, but come to find out, it's another one of those stupid farce comedies starring a tranny comedian.
As he previously demonstrated in "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", Tyler Perry is totally clueless of the contradictory messages in this sequel. The film is supposed to be a family comedy but it constantly jumps all over the place, switching from family to violence to romance to religion to 'Big Momma's House' and beyond. It's like if I were to watch "Enchanted" and witness a scene where the villainous witch actually hits a child. Not saying a bad witch probably wouldn't do that, but to show that in a kids film?
How about the scenes where Madea hits the teenage Nikki with a belt or slaps her? They're all played for laughs but at the same time, these scenes are basically telling us that hitting children is funny and very useful. But then we're taught that men should not abuse their spouses, based on Carlos and Lisa's relationship.
Forget that, how about this. During the family reunion scene, Grandpa Madea and bunch of old men are shown hitting on one of the younger women, asking her to bend over and reach down into a beer barrel for them. Keep in mind, this comes right before the 'Great Ancestry' meeting in which the eldest family members teach us to be kind to each other. More on that scene in minute.
Why Bother Giving Names to Characters?
We have a textbook abusive husband with the sweetheart innocent wife, the troubled single mother with two kids, an obnoxious mother who only cares about money, the heaven-sent single father who saves the single mother, need I go on?
These characters are pure stereotypes, right down to their midichlorians. Tyler Perry yet repeats another mistake he made in the previous film. Every character in this movie is one dimensional and not necessarily flawed. Take Frankie's character (the heaven sent daddy) for example. He's 110% pure, just as the plot needs him to be. Are you meaning to tell me that this guy has zero skeletons in his closet?
Even good people have done things that they regret. On the contrary, some good people were once bad but something happened that turned them good.
"Madea's Family Reunion" is so textbook that it's nauseating.
Ghetto Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Ancestors
Eventually, we get to the big family reunion scene which the title of the movie speaks of. We are introduced to three aunts who are the eldest members of the family. There's Aunt May, Aunt Myrtile, and finally, Aunt Ruby, the latter whom is the eldest of them all at 96 years old.
These three women play as the main participants in what has to be one of the dumbest and most over-the-top (that phrase seems to be pretty popular in this review, and that's for good reason too) scenes in the entire movie.
It starts like this. As the reunion is taking place, Aunt Ruby asks her sisters to take her outside to see her family. The three elders are shocked to find many young members of their family gambling and gyrating to raunchy music. News flash, old ladies, not everyone is a prude like yourselves. Get a grip.
While I feel that a woman's means of flaunting her body if she has it (i.e. short skirts, tight pants, etc.) is perfectly acceptable, I'd say there is a line to be drawn. It's not like these women are hookers. They're just showing off what they feel proud of. They want to engage in dirty dancing? Let them. These three old women seem to think the '50s are still in.
Nevertheless, these awful sightings cause the elders to have a 'Great Ancestry' meeting, and it's done in such a hokey fashion. It almost didn't feel like a grand family meeting, it felt more like something out of a 'Star Wars' prequel, like one of those meetings where the entire Jedi council is present.
It begins like this. The eldest sister begins ringing a huge bell as a fat lady starts singing, this is all done to get the attention of all the family members. Everyone gathers with and meets the three elder sisters plus the fat lady outside an old wooden house. We come to learn that this is the house where the entire family started.
So the elders sit on the porch of the house and preach to the younger generations about how they should show more dignity and respect, yadda yadda, and so forth.
AUNT MYRTILE: The force is strong in this family! Young Jedi women, you are more than your hips and thighs!
So the house is like Yoda's hut on Dagobah, Aunt Ruby is Yoda, Aunt Myrtile is Mace Windu, and Aunt May is Qui-Gon Jinn.
I thought I was watching an asinine black comedy about an abusive transvestite? I'm so confused.
"The Wedding to Rival All Weddings"
...or so the wedding planner in "Madea's Family Reunion" says to Lisa and her mother.
This has to be the most overdone, overblown wedding I have ever seen in a film. It's just one of those many moments during these 'Madea' movies where you say to yourself "Tyler Perry just HAD to go there, didn't he?"
The wedding is inside an expensive venue, complete with Johnny Gil singing, people dressed as angels and playing harps as they hang from the ceiling. Yes, you heard me right, real live people hanging from the ceiling by strings. Yep.
I hope there were no people sitting underneath them. What if the strings broke on one of the angels and he/she fell on the guests? Would Carlos pay for the lawsuit? I mean didn't they use his money for the wedding anyway?
Aside from that, the scene is not as cringeworthy and over-the-top as the church finale in "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" but it's definitely... up there... in the unnecessary dimension. Madea's Tupac joke doesn't help the tone of the scene either, I might add.
Random Things That Make No Sense
- Frankie is a bus driver and Vanessa usually takes his route to get home. During one trip, Frankie tries to mack with her on a bus filled with people. Maybe he doesn't mind making a fool of himself, but how does he know Vanessa wouldn't be embarrassed? Furthermore, were the two commenting passengers really necessary? The man and the woman who put their two cents in about Frankie asking Vanessa out when she has two kids. Sounds like it belongs on the cutting room floor.
- What kind of a name is Tyrequa? Who in their right mind would name someone that? Were they drunk out of their minds? How did we go from Frankie to Vanessa to Lisa to Carlos to Tyrequa?
- While driving Madea and her new foster child home, Brian says "Remind me to never leave my kids with you" after Madea hits Nikki. Gee, that's funny, because it seemed like a regular thing for him to do in "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". Besides, doesn't Brian know Madea's ways with kids in general?
- During the wedding scene, Lisa announces she's not getting married and spills the beans about her abuse. Frankie then purposes to Vanessa so that all that hard work doesn't go to waste. So, how long did the dress alterations take? Were all the guests just sitting around for an hour or two? Were the angels hanging up there for that long as well?
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