Tyler Perry never tries to make a horror comedy out of Boo! A Madea Halloween. Don’t be fooled by promotional posters spoofing The Exorcist, Halloween and other classic horror films. Madea is as Madea does, and she’s back for another preachy sermon about how kids these days need a swift kick in the ass. You know, like in the good old days when Madea was stripping on a pole like a real ratchet hoe (her words). It’s more of the same Christian tomfoolery and annoying “Hallelujer!” exclamations – just with spooky masks and Halloween themes this time around. Expectations, meet G-rated haunted house mediocrity featuring lippy PG-13 elders.
Perry is back in drag as America’s favorite senior sass-queen, enlisted this time to babysit a group of misbehaving teens. Tiffany (Diamond White), a 17-year-old high school student, wants to attend the local frathouse’s “epic” Halloween party with her friends – and it’s Madea’s job to ensure that doesn’t happen. She fails (of course), and must navigate the party with Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and Hattie (Patrice Lovely) so she can drag Tiffany home. This (of course) doesn’t work, and Madea ends up being thrown out herself. A call to the cops is placed, the party gets busted, and all seems in order once Tiffany plays off being home the whole time. That’s until the frat wants revenge (OF COURSE)….
Ultimately, Boo! A Madea Halloween comes down to lame-duck pranks with absolutely no explanation. Perry’s scripted laziness is on display in full force, as his sleeveless Greek-life posse is able to hack into cable services and make smudged words appear on foggy mirrors without ANY explanation. I mean, a hacker character appears in ONE scene for twenty seconds, so we know he exists somewhere, but that’s it. Not even a quick cyber montage or the tiniest bit of exposition.
While Madea and Bam are going on about legalized marijuana and being able to beat your child near death without consequence, important things are happening off-camera that would tie such stupidity together at least a tad – but no. We just get horny grandma jokes, old people cursing and praising the “lerd.” Why explain when you can ignore?
Perry’s eye for casting looks no farther than YouTube, as he assembles a dumpster-fire fraternity crew who you’ll hate to hate in the worst way. Yousef Erakat parlays his 9.6 million subscribers into an aggressively unfunny role as the frat’s “El Presidente,” some Jersey Shore stereotype brings shame to neanderthalic ‘roidheads and a Thor-looking bro is leveraged for dumb Norse superhero jokes.
Diamond White isn’t wholly off-putting as Perry’s lead spoiled brat (Tiffany), but Liza Koshy’s good-girl sidekick makes good on ruining most scenes (material beats her goody-goody dead horse). Elsewhere, Bella Thorne plays hot and Lexy Panterra plays “slutty girl who can twerk,” who touch each other’s boobs at random times because Tyler Perry has a strange perception on how teenage sloots interact. Yet, these stereotypes are nowhere near as egregious as bros like Jimmy Tatro bro’ing harder than any bro has bro’ed before – these are cookie cutter frat dudes who wouldn’t hack it in more popular college comedies.
I’ll give Perry a little credit, because his portrayal of old-timer Joe finds humor in a player-beyond-his-time charms (shamelessness). The way he hits on Bam, Hattie and Madea gets a giggle based on his perverse mouth at times, interjecting with the right one-liner about gettin’ freaky or something equally inappropriate. Bam wanders around in a ganja stupor and Hattie dry-humps whatever she can, both scoring some deserving highlights. It’s no Cockneys Vs. Zombies (where golden-oldies pepper zombies with automatic gunfire), but – surprisingly – Madea’s crew spews some appropriate tough-love towards the weak-ass bitches produced by today’s PC culture.
Unfortunately, none of that excuses Boo! A Madea Halloween for coming up short on both spooks and laughs. Tyler Perry never wants to scare you, and I assure you, he never will. Perry DOES want to make you laugh though, succeeding when jokes are bite-size and contained – but most scenes ramble on and on as Madea searches for multiple ways to land the same punchline. Jokes about testicle mutilation stumble like improv without a time limit, comical when referenced as a tootsie pop, but exhausting after the third go-around in Madea’s private circle. These moments are like poison apples, and unfortunately, Perry just keeps taking bites. Such is the curse of this spoopy (real word, look it up), lukewarm comedy – bland like a knockoff candy-bar covered in some nameless, generic wrapper.
Boo! A Madea Halloween just isn't very scary and struggles with beating jokes to death like a discarded corpse.