Madea's Big Happy Family Reviews
Now that I've stated what feels like the inevitable complaint about Terry Perry's tendency toward overly shrill, broad bombast, let me say: While I was watching Madea's Big Happy Family, I couldn't deny that it plays.
"Family" offers Mr. Perry's signature ingredients: multiple subplots; a Southern setting; and broad comedy, florid melodrama and inspirational Christianity, tossed together with an almost slapdash elan.
"Madea's Big Happy Family'' nonsensically knots the spiritual and the salacious, asking gossipy questions then giving pulpit answers so that the movie is wonderfully, woefully absurd.
Like most of Perry's movies, this one oscillates wildly and shamelessly between raunch and pathos, leaving plenty of room for the performers to work. The lively ensemble includes a scene-stealing Cassi Davis as pothead Aunt Bam.
Madea's Big Happy Family plods from one scene to the next at a deliberate pace, repeatedly betraying its theatrical roots as each new conversation or confrontation plays out like the latest in a series of segments in a stage revue.
If he's moving on from Madea, and "For Colored girls" and his next couple of announced projects suggest he is, at least Perry's doing right by the old broad, letting her bow out like one big, wise-cracking mother of a momma.
Perry possesses a superb ear for the themes and emotions that connect him to his core audience, and that's on display again here, though the unconverted might grumble that the movie's many riffs and rants feel recycled from previous offerings.
Deathbed scenes and colonoscopy humor, Bible quotations and Maury Povich "Who Is the Real Baby Daddy" episodes: All cohabit with equal relevance in the world of Tyler Perry.