Madea's Witness Protection

Directed By: Tyler Perry

Starring: Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Romeo Miller, Doris Roberts, and Marla Gibbs

While I like Tyler Perry, I suspect that he has run out of good ideas for his most famous character, Madea.  Madea’s Witness Protection is just one stereotype and predictable joke after another.  Rich white family?  Check.  Working class black family?  Check.  Rich white family comes into contact with black family and become fish out of water? Check. Black matriarch imparts wisdom on white family and improves their lives?  Check.  We’ve been there and done that and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection is not that dissimilar from the less than stellar Big Momma’s House 2.  But let’s get to the story.

George Needleman (Eugene Levy) is the CFO of a major company.  He lives in the lap of luxury in New York with his wife Kate (Denise Richards), his mom Barbara (Doris Roberts) and his two kids.  Unbeknownst to him, his company is operating a massive Ponzi scheme through its charitable foundation and has ties to the mafia.  CNN is set to expose the scheme and federal prosecutors are looking to take down the company and the mafia family laundering money through the corporation.  The head of the company absconds to Europe, leaving Needleman to take the fall.

Southern prosecutor Brian Simmons (Perry) is working to prosecute the case.  His job is to hide Needleman where the mob won’t find him and also work with him to figure out how the Ponzi scheme worked.  Brian realizes that the one place the mob won’t look for Needleman is in Georgia with Brian’s aunt (Madea).  Madea agrees to hide the Needleman family for a considerable sum, and the Needlemans move in with Madea.  Meanwhile, Jake (Romeo Miller) struggles because he invested his father’s churches’ mortgage money in the Ponzi scheme and he doesn’t know how to tell his very sick father that all of the money has been lost.  The film follows Madea’s normal hijinks as she deals with the Needleman family and their ongoing crime drama.

While there were some laugh-out-loud moments involving Madea, Witness Protection did not break any new ground.  In fact, the film relied on traditional racial differences to wisecrack and impart wisdom.  The worst part of the movie, however, was the acting.  Romeo Miller was dreadful.  He overacted in every single scene and should run immediately to an acting coach and work on pretty much everything.  What is even worse, is that seasoned comedic vet Eugene Levy was just as bad.  He played his character in such an over the top manner that he simply was not funny.  I was baffled that someone who has played such memorable character roles and shared the screens with comedic legends like Tom Hanks, John Candy and Chevy Chase was just so awful.  When Levy and Miller were on the screen together, I wanted to run from the theater screaming.  It was that bad.

All in all, I really have no desire to waste any more of my life talking about this film than I already wasted enough watching it.  While I enjoyed Perry’s earlier film this year, Good Deeds, Madea’s Witness Protection just left a sour taste in my mouth.  I’d suggest a strong Cosmo to get through this one.