[Screen It]


(2016) (Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis) (PG-13)

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Comedy: Madea and her cronies must babysit her teenage niece on Halloween, as the girl schemes to sneak out and attend a local college party.
Brian (TYLER PERRY), a recently divorced father, is having a hard time parenting his headstrong teenage daughter, Tiffany (DIAMOND WHITE), who has plans to sneak out to attend a Halloween bash at the local fraternity house. Temptations are everywhere for her, including the cute and charming frat president Jonathan (YOUSEF ERAKAT) and her party-hearty friends Rain (BELLE THORNE) and Leah (LEXY PANTERRA). Only good-girl bestie Aday (LIZA KOSHY) seems to have any second thoughts about attending such a raucous college party.

When Brian is called into work, he phones his feisty, domineering Aunt Madea (also PERRY) to come and babysit Tiffany and Aday and make sure they don't leave. Madea brings along Brian's profane father, Joe (also PERRY); her pot-smoking neighbor, Bam (CASSI DAVIS); and their almost unintelligible friend, Hattie (PATRICE LOVELY).

Tiffany, though, still manages to escape and Madea and her cronies go after her to the frat house. When Madea is physically tossed out of the house, she retaliates by calling the police. The fraternity responds by mounting a series of horror movie-like pranks that up the stakes beyond anything they could have expected.

OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
For movies that were not screened for the press prior to release, we provide only a few paragraphs of critical analysis.

I have given very negative reviews to Tyler Perry movies in the past, and I have even given very uh charitable write-ups, too. This one's gonna be charitable, folks. The one thing I will always admit and acknowledge is the dude makes EXACTLY the movies he wants to make. He's the writer, director, producer, and star. And what he wants on screen gets on screen.

He's not about subtlety at all. If you go in looking for sharp social commentary or thought-provoking drama, you're basically a dolt or you've never seen one of his flicks. Perry wants to preach to you. He'll keep your butt in that theater seat at least 15 to 20 minutes too long every single time to hammer his points home about tough parenting, entitled youth, the importance of faith and family, and so forth. But he also loves jokes about sex, weed, and running from the poh-poh. His "Madea" films are among his broadest.

While I am sure it will get a majority of negative write-ups on Rotten Tomatoes, I am not ashamed to say that his latest effort, "Boo! A Madea Halloween" is one of his better flicks. It's not the horror spoof the commercials and trailers make it out to be. It's being very falsely advertised. It's more "Madea Vs. A Fraternity" as she tries to rescue her niece from a raucous campus party, eventually calls the police, and the frat boys respond with all sorts of "Scream"-"Walking Dead"-"Conjuring" pranks before Madea gets her ultimate revenge.

It's all played very loud and very obvious. But I'd be lying if I didn't say there are some big laughs sprinkled throughout. The film is made with a lot of affection, too. Perry loves these characters (some past faves as Joe, Aunt Bam, and Hattie are also along for the hijinks), and he's counting on his target audience to love them, too. What can I say? I grew up in the '70s and cut my teeth on characters like Fred Sanford, Aunt Esther, George Jefferson, Rerun, Florida Evans, and Willona. Their DNA is in Madea and in her gabby cohorts. And at 103 minutes, "Boo!" is probably Perry's best-paced preachy comedy in years. I give it a 5 out of 10 (T. Durgin)

Reviewed October 20. 2016 / Posted October 21, 2016

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