Published Mar 01, 2006Tyler Perry must be stopped. The multitasking director/writer/performer ranks up there as the most hypocritical, least aesthetic filmmaker in America today. He's a man who has no compunction about leering at half-clad women then lecturing that they shouldn't dress that way, or damning the practice of spousal abuse while extolling the virtues of child abuse.
But that's the way of Madea's Family Reunion, in which Perry's titular drag creation offers dubious advice, while a pair of sisters are torn apart by their greedy mother and her desire to push one into marriage with an abusive investment banker. Oh, and there's a romance between a sister and a hunky Christian bus driver that culminates in a song called "The Courage to be Loved."
The film is fascinated by the very things it tries to decry; Madea is countered by her husband Joe (Perry again), who says all of the grotesquely misogynist things so as to balance the pseudo-feminist caterwauling of Madea. And the film never recovers from the uncertainty clouding what the hell it's trying to say.
Of course, it might help if Perry knew how to write dialogue or shoot a scene attractively, but he's completely inept on both counts, meaning there's no escape from the thesis-statement speechifying and ludicrous logic jumps. You start by snickering and by the end you're crawling out of your skin; the film's horrible exploitation of various forms of abuse and casual espousal of atrocious behaviour sit rather badly with the final Cicely Tyson-Maya Angelou tag team speech.
Despite its bland, white bread exterior, there's something vile rotting this apple from its core. It's already a front-runner for the year's worst movie. (Maple)