[Screen It]


(2019) (Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis) (R)

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Comedy: Madea is asked to plan a family member's funeral, which may reveal secrets that could cause major drama and chaos for her loved ones.
Siblings A.J. (COURTNEY BURRELL), Jessie (ROME FLYNN), and Sylvia (CIERA PAYTON) are busy with family friend, Renee (QUIN WALTERS), preparing a surprise anniversary party for their parents, Anthony (DEREK MORGAN) and Vianne (JEN HARPER). But unbeknownst to Jessie. A.J. is cheating on his wife, Carol (KJ SMITH), with Jessie's fiancée, Gia (AERIEL MIRANDA). In the next hotel room over, Anthony is cheating on Vianne with Renee. Their sadomasochistic sex proves to be too much for the older man, and he suffers a fatal heart attack

Into the mix comes distant relative, Madea (TYLER PERRY), who along with Uncle Joe (also PERRY), Aunt Bam (CASSI DAVIS), and Aunt Hattie (PATRICE LOVELY) all witness Anthony's final moments when they check into the same hotel with Joe's son, Brian (also PERRY). They vow to keep the secret of Anthony's adultery to protect Vianne, but it's very hard when the details are so salacious.

Of course, such a big secret is bound to come out at some point, especially when Madea is tasked with planning the funeral and the reception afterward. In attendance is Uncle Heathrow (also PERRY), a wheelchair-bound elderly relative whose throat cancer has forced him to now talk out of an electronic voice box. Heathrow is always looking to stir up trouble. But, this time, even he recognizes there's plenty of that to go around.

OUR TAKE: 1 out of 10
For films not screened for the reviewing press, we only provide a few paragraphs of critical analysis.

OK, there is reason for excitement with the new "A Madea Family Funeral." All indications from the marketing of this flick and the various interviews actor-writer-director-producer Tyler Perry have given is that this is the last movie in which he will put on the dress and wig and star as the title character. Yahoo! Personally, though, I'm not holding my breath. In 2015, Harrison Ford came back after three decades and played Han Solo, something he vowed never to do until Disney's checkbook awakened. In 1983, Sean Connery played James Bond one more time after famously saying "Never." So, Perry returning to Madea? His vow that this is the last is about as meaningful as my last New Year's resolution. Yeah, sure I'm gonna exercise more and not eat dessert for an entire calendar year!

I mean, come on. It's not like it's Madea being offed, eulogized, and buried here. It's some distant relative we've never met before and could care less about. But a film reviewer can dream, can't he?

You always want to go out on a high note, and "Family Funeral" is certainly not that. It's a deeply weird film about Madea's extended family members (although you've never seen any of them before in any other "Madea" flick ... not even "Madea's Big Happy Family" in 2011) having just suffered the loss of their patriarch (Derek Morgan). His oldest son, A.J. (Courtney Burrell), caught him cheating in a hotel room, having sadomasochistic sex with family friend, Renee (Quin Walters). Meanwhile, A.J. was in the same hotel cheating on his wife, Carol (KJ Smith), with his brother Jessie's (Rome Flynn) fiancée, Gia (Ariel Miranda).

The family repercussions, grief, and guilt, they're all played straight and real. But into this mix comes Perry's broadly played title character; Perry's horny, elderly pothead Uncle Joe; the always on-the-make Aunt Hattie (Patrice Lovely); and the bladder-challenged Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis). Their sole function throughout this movie is to say the worst, most inappropriate things as the main family deals with their chaos and turmoil. It's hard to feel anything for the people in pain when you have Madea and Joe and new Perry creation Uncle Heathrow (a wheelchair-bound, cancer-riddled fake war veteran) cracking wise in long, way-overwritten scenes about everything from erections to recreational pot use to police harassment.

The press notes say this movie was filmed in a week. I believe it. It also seems to have been written in a week. Maybe shorter, who knows?!. Perry's production as a scripter has always been something to marvel at. I swear there have been some scripts he's written where he ordered a pizza, started writing, and finished the script by the time the pizza delivery guy arrived at his doorstep. This might have been one of them. I bury this franchise with a 1 out of 10. (T. Durgin)

Reviewed February 28, 2019 / Posted March 1, 2019

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