Someday there will be an academic study on Tyler Perry, the battered and sexually abused child who legally changed his first name at 16 and grew rich playing a caricature of his mother in pantyhose and a dress, like a sass-talking Norman Bates. By all accounts, Perry adored his mom, the late Willie Maxine, whom he credits with giving him faith, stability, and the inspiration behind his famous character. Did she see herself in Madea, who, according to A Madea Christmas, is an ex-stripper and weed-dealer who once had a threesome with Jesse Jackson? In recent Madea flicks, Perry's broadened the color spectrum of his cast. Last year's Witness Protection introduced Eugene Levy as Madea's secret grand-nephew. With A Madea Christmas, in which Madea helps an interracial Alabama couple break the news to their families, he goes even further. Behold, Madea's niece's daughter's new father-in-law: Larry the Cable Guy. Larry and Madea are an oddly perfect pairing. They're both comedians in drag -- Larry (né Daniel Lawrence Whitney of Nebraska, some six states away from his fake Georgia twang) just gets to wear pants. Both ain’t got no time for political correctness, polite talk, or pronunciation standards. They get along like two hogs in a mud puddle, merrily slinging dirt at everyone that crosses their path: fat people, racist people, rich people, mean people, weak people, and, a bit hypocritically, bullies. A Madea Christmas is leaps better than Witness Protection, the series's nadir, and full of enough accidental comedy and surreal leaps of logic that it could play in a double bill with The Room. It's also, of course, not good by any definition.
Tyler PerryTyler Perry, Chad Michael Murray, Alicia Witt, Kathy Najimy, Tika Sumpter, Larry the Cable Guy, Eric Lively, Lisa Whelchel, Anna Maria Horsford, Jonathan ChaseTyler PerryTyler PerryLionsgate