A Madea Christmas

Directed by: Tyler Perry

Starring:  Tyler Perry, Anna Maria Horsford, Larry The Cable Guy, Chad Michael Murphy, Tika Sumpter, Eric Lively, Alicia Witt, Lisa Whelchel, Kathy Najimy, and JR Lemon

Enough is enough.  Tyler Perry’s popular cross-dressing grandma Madea has been through too much.  She has had a reunion, weddings, been to jail and has even been involved with the witness protection program.  Now, in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, she is involved with the holidays.  Unfortunately, Madea’s antics have long since lost their humor.  But unless the masses stop patronizing this nonsense, I fear that there will be a Madea Easter, a Madea Valentine’s Day, A Madea Goes To Six Flags, and so forth and so on.  I can only hope that the success of other non-Madea related African American films this year will continue to spur higher quality comedic endeavors.

In A Madea Christmas, Madea (Tyler Perry) is working with her niece Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) as a hostess at a department store.  Eileen is incredibly excited for the holidays and cannot wait for her daughter Lacey (Tika Sumter) to visit from Alabama.  However, Lacey suddenly cancels her plans to come home for the holidays and Eileen is distraught that her only child will not be home for Christmas.  Eileen convinces Madea to travel down to Alabama with her to surprise Lacey with a holiday visit.

Unbeknownst to Eileen, however, Lacey secretly married her college sweetheart Conner (Eric Lively) and moved to his family’s farm.  Lacey has kept her relationship with Conner secret for years because Conner is white and Eileen would not approve.  Eileen arrives and believes that Conner is a farmhand, and she treats him rather rudely.  Lacey and Conner's charade becomes even more complicated when Conner’s parents Buddy (Larry the Cable Guy) and Kim (Kathy Najimy) arrive for a holiday visit.  On top of the family drama, Lacey and Connor’s small town is faced with a financial crisis at the time of the Christmas jubilee, and Lacey and the townspeople must figure out a way to raise money and save the town’s annual tradition. 

While I respect a film that somehow manages to have Blair from The Facts of Life, Thelma from Amen, Lucas from One Tree Hill, Peggy from King of the Hill, Larry the Cable Guy and Antoine (“Hide your kids”) Dodson in the mix, A Madea Christmas is a terrible movie.  Unfortunately, the laughs are few and far between.  I will admit that Madea still can garner a chuckle or two.  Madea’s reaction to walking into a KKK meeting unexpectedly was hilarious.  However, Madea’s brand of humor has simply been beaten into the ground.  She is literally relying on the exact same gags in every single film.  How many different words can Madea mispronounce in a movie?  50?  100?  In A Madea Christmas, she confuses “apparel” with “a pear.” In Madea’s Witness Protection, she confused a request for “wi-fi” with a request for a “waffle iron.”  This mispronunciation gag is repeated ad nauseum throughout A Madea Christmas, and it is simply not humorous.

On top of this comedy’s lack of real humor, the plot is predictable and razor thin.  Even the outtakes from the film weren't funny. It felt like Perry just scrambled to get a Christmas movie out because Madea in a Santa dress will bring in families at Christmas time.  The only interesting layer to the film is that it does underscore the overlap between African American Christians and the Christian right, particularly the push to put “Christ” back in Christmas.

Tyler Perry stated on The Tom Joyner Morning Show that A Madea Christmas is not going to win an Oscar, and is just a feel good movie.  I agree with one part of that statement.  A Madea Christmas is more likely to earn a Razzie than an Oscar.  Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas earns a wasted rating.  You will need some tequila shots to make it through this Christmas disaster.  If you want to see a “feel good” Christmas movie, save your money and check out A Christmas Story, This Christmas, Love Actually or Elf