Review by Shirley Hawkins
Madea is back!
Just in time for the holiday season, Madea is shaking things up once again in Tyler Perry Presents A Madea Christmas.
This is not exactly my favorite Madea movie—it’s thinly plotted and a little mean spirited—but it is always a kick to see Madea, who is like visiting that relative from Hell who never fails to cook up a big pot of crazy.
Madea’s niece, Eileen, (Anna Marie Horsford) hires Madea to help out in a Bloomingdale-like department store for Christmas—but that’s like inviting a fox to watch the chicken coop!
Madea is not feelin’ her Mrs. Claus-like red Santa outfit. “I look like the whole red light district,” she quips. “I haven’t been done up like this since I was on the pole! I can’t do this,” she tells Eileen.
“Yes, you can, just smile,” Eileen coaxes.
“They’re gonna give me five dollars for each child that sits on my lap,” crows Madea. “They wanted Santa Claus, but he’s on lockdown! You know how that is.”
“I want a TV!” asks the first child on Madea’s lap.
“To get a TV, you need a j.o.b.,” Madea snaps back.
“I want a stocking full of candy!” cries another child.
“Why don’t I give you a stocking full of Jenny Craig?” Madea barks.
Oh, oh! Madea starts to get glassy eyed by all of the begging children!
Pretty soon, Madea switches to another job greeting the customers, but she turns out to be downright crude and rude!
When a middle-aged customer asks to see lingerie, Madea delivers some bad news.
“Those days are over,” she quips. “I think you should walk over to Target and ask for those big girl drawers. You don’t want to have a sling up your b*tt.”
The insulted customer storms off in a huff!
Madea makes a call to a friend. “I need you to get me some scratch offs,” she instructs the caller on the other end as she chats away. A customer approaches and informs Madea she wants to see some watches. Frustrated at being ignored, the customer starts raising her voice. Oh, Lordy!
“Hold on,” Madea tells her telephone pal. “Somebody is screaming at me. I’m about to choke the hell out of her!”
The customer gets cold feet! She scampers off quicker than a squirrel with a mouth full of nuts!
“I don’t think I’ll be able to make it,” Lacey says. “I’m helping my kids with the upcoming Christmas Jubilee, but we’re having a budget crisis. Can’t we just skip the visit this year?”
Eileen panics. “Something’s wrong with my child,” she tells Madea. Eileen decides to make a surprise visit to Lacey’s rural Alabama town. Eileen begs Madea to come along, but Madea isn’t keen on the idea. “You think I want to go to Alabama?” Madea cries.
“I’ll pay you,” Eileen begs. Madea changes her mind quicker than gas prices!
The offer comes just in time, too—the department manager storms over and is not exactly pleased with Madea’s work.
“Eileen, we’ve had a lot of complaints about your friend Madea,” the manager tells Eileen. “Madea, please leave quickly. We’ll mail you your check.”
Oh, oh! Madea gets mad! “I didn’t mail my work up in here, so don’t you mail my check! Y’all gonna give me some d*mn money!”
Madea rushes over to the cash register and grabs $160 dollars! “That’s what you owe me!”
As shocked customers look on, Madea grabs some other items off the floor and sprints out the door!
“What you lookin’ at?” she cries at a stunned customer.
Eileen and Madea hit the road! Also along for the ride is Lacey’s old high school sweetheart Oliver who still carries a torch for his old beloved. Eileen secretly hopes that Lacey and Oliver will get back together.
The three finally make it down South. Madea has to relieve herself and stops at a gas station. An old timer points to a building where the restroom is.
Lo and behold! Madea walks in-and surprise! She steps right into a Ku Klux Klan meeting! There’s enough white sheets in there to rock a Tide commercial! The whole room turns around to stare at Madea!
(Maybe she should have lead them into singing a spirited rendition of “We Shall Overcome!”)
Madea splits faster than crooks running from the cops!
The two finally arrive at a rural farm. Eileen is shocked!
“Is this the right address?” she asks Madea.
Lacey rushes out to meet them accompanied by Connor—a white guy who she introduces as “the help”! (It turns out that Connor, an agricultural engineer, is Lacey’s new husband—but Lacey is scared to break the news to Eileen—who doesn’t approve of interracial marriages-that they are married!)
Apparently, Eileen wouldn’t welcome the news—it seems that her dead husband was a segregationist who didn’t believe in race mixing! (It’s a good thing he didn’t lay eyeballs on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West while he was living!)
“Who are you?” Eileen asks Connor.
“Girl, the coroner’s here. Who died?” Madea cries.
“Not coroner. Conner!” Conner cries.
“I don’t like you livin’ up in here with Connor. People will talk,” Eileen tells Lacey.
“Leave her alone. She’s happy out here on the farm playing Old McDonald,” quips Madea.
Connor corners Lacey. “You didn’t tell me your people were coming.”
“I didn’t know they were coming either!” Lacey says, telling him that their arrival was a total surprise.
To complicate matters, Connor’s parents, who know that Connor and Lacey are married, are on their way to spend the Christmas holiday.
In the meantime, Lacey receives a phone call from her old boyfriend, Oliver. Lacey tells him that the town may not be able to hold the Christmas Jubilee due to financial problems.
Oliver delivers good news-he says he has a contract worth $100,000 that could solve all of the school district’s woes. He agrees to meet her, the mayor and school administrators at the school so that they can look over and sign the contract.
Lacey tells Madea that she has to go to the school to meet with Oliver and the school administrators about the upcoming Christmas Jubilee. She asks Madea to come and watch her class.
“I don’t get along with children. Ankle biting, disease ridden carrying children of God!” Madea cries. But Madea wants to get away from the complaining Eileen and she accepts.
In the class, Madea tries to soothe a classmate named Billy who is being bullied. “They bullied me, too,” Madea tells Billy. “I was six feet tall, full figured and fully curved. They picked on me in school. Sometimes you have to talk back.”
Billy is the brightest student in the class. Lacey feels he should be in advanced classes, but his farmhand father Tanner (Chad Michael Murphy) insists he stay on the farm and doesn’t want him going anywhere.
Madea tells the kids the story of the baby Jesus, but she adds her own crazy twist! “There was Mary about to have the baby Pina Colada. She was at the bus stop. She went into labor. Jesus was born to the virgin Mary J. Blige. A mangy dog showed up. The dog said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’”
The kids are mesmerized (and obviously confused!)
Madea turns to write her name on the board and one of the kids swipes her purse!
Madea ain’t falling for that! She finds out who the culprit is and strings her up on a cross in the class—all decked out with Christmas tree lights!
After the contract is signed, Oliver tries to kiss Lacey, but she wards him off. It looks like Oliver is trying to ignite that old flame!
Back at the farm, Connor’s parents, Kim (Kathy Najimy) and Buddy (Larry the Cable Guy) arrive and hug and kiss Connor.
“You must be Lacy!” they cry. “I’m Connor’s mama. I was so upset to hear the two of you eloped. No wedding!”
“Lacy hasn’t told her mother that we’re married yet!” Connor complains.
“Nice to meet you, Medium,” Buddy tells Madea.
“It’s Madea—and don’t flirt with me in front of your wife.”
“Did you hear the joke about the two rabbis and the black dude?” Buddy cracks.
“No. Did you hear about the stray bullet that killed the two rabbis and the black dude?” Madea quips back.
“Do you know Oprah?” asks Buddy.
“No!” says Madea.
“Just because they’re both Black doesn’t mean that they know each other,” says Kim. (Hmmm. Good point!)
Well! Looks like it’s a full (and crowded) house for Christmas!
Eileen wonders why “the help’s” family is visiting Lacey for the holidays. “But Lacey has always been nice to the help!” she assures Connor’s parents.
Eileen gets spooked because after bumping into Buddy covered with a sheet in his bedroom, she assumes he and Kim are members of the Ku Klux Klan!
Things get worse when Eileen inadvertently cuts down the Christmas tree that Kim planted in the memory of her dead father!
As for Lacey and Connor, Madea finally guesses that they are more than “the employer” and “the help!”
“I tell by the way you too look at each other!” she crows.
But there’s trouble brewing! The contract that Lacey’s boyfriend got the school and the mayor to sign has got some unforeseen clauses! Looks like the contract is bogus! The town is thrown into turmoil and Lacey is blamed! Tanner tells the mayor that Lacey should be fired! The mayor relents to growing pressure and fires Lacey!
Will Madea spill the beans to Eileen about Lacey and Connor? Will Lacey get her job back and finally tell Eileen that she and Connor are married?
Will this family find peace in time for Christmas?
Will the town get a chance to hold their annual Christmas Jubilee?
Will there be peace on earth and goodwill towards men?
There are a lot of secrets to be unveiled in Tyler Perry Presents: A Madea Holiday-but that’s for me to know and for you to find out!
Larry the Cable Guy (Buddy) and Kathy Najimy (Kim) are a delightful hoot (and pretty much steal the show) as the progressive couple who accept the interracial marriage but keep quiet to go along with Lacey’s wishes. (And surprise, surprise! Larry the Cable Guy can actually act!)
There are some cute sight gags, as when YouTube sensations Antoine (“Hide your wife! Hide your kids!”) and Sweet “Ain’t nobody got time for that” Brown gleefully show up to get interviewed by the town’s evening news.
There’s always a built-in audience eager to devour anything Madea, (check the numbers!) and I know this movie will be no exception. To tell you the truth, I was a little disappointed with this latest installment. All I can say is, folks never get tired of seeing Tyler Perry dressed up as Madea, even though he resembles a massive San Francisco 49’ers quarterback in lipstick and pearls.
All I can say is, Happy Holidays to all of you Madea fans out there!