MADEA ON THE RUN Review: More Madea From Concentrate

Tons of Tyler Perry weirdness in pure overdrive.

If I haven’t been able to convince you to watch a Tyler Perry movie, I strongly doubt I can get you to watch one of his plays. I talk a lot about how nuts these films are, but the truth is, they are nothing compared to the shenanigans that go on in play form. I go into the difference a whole lot more in the I Can Do Bad All By Myself chapter of my book (I’m shilling!), but you’re really not getting the entire experience until you’ve seen one of these. If you’re interested, I highly recommend Madea’s Class Reunion as a starting point.

Basically, Tyler Perry’s plays are long affairs, filled with tons of 6+ minute generic gospel songs and 20+ minute Madea rants, strung together with plots that feel generated by a Tyler Perry cliche machine. They differ from each other only in terms of “Is Madea in this one?” and “Who does Madea hang out with in this one?”

That all sounds like I’m being mean, but I adore these things. I mean, if you watched the “child beating discussion” bit in Boo! A Madea Halloween and thought “Boy, I could watch this conversation for hours”, the plays absolutely have your back. Just fast-forward through the songs and you’re golden. (Sorry to anyone who thinks my integrity is tarnished for admitting this particular viewing sin, but the songs are atrocious.)

Madea on the Run is no different. The plot involves a large family that is falling apart in various ways that Madea will fix by play’s end. All the hits are represented: there’s cheating, a pastor, a mean mom, drugs, physical and emotional abuse and mean spirited jabs at mentally disabled people (though the “slow” character does get to be a reformed hunk at the end). If you’re familiar with Tyler Perry, you pretty much know how it’s going to run.

But that’s not why you watch these. It’s all about Madea. I’m sorry to report that the play’s title is not represented by the plot. Madea enters and exits the play while chased from police. That’s it. My dreams of seeing Tyler Perry incorporate a car into one of these plays has been dashed.

Still, starting at about 20 minutes in, Madea is in a fair amount of the play. And she rants and rants and rants. Even better, we actually get to see her make good on a couple of her physical threats, something that rarely happens. Her cigarettes are back, too.

The wait for Madea to arrive isn’t that bad, either, because a lot of that time is filled up with horny pothead Aunt Bam. The family in the play actually belongs to her. The mythos widens! Once Bam and Madea get together, it’s pretty much a grand old time. If you like this sort of thing, that is. Outsiders will think they’re stuck in a very particular form of hell.

That pretty much sums up the whole experience. Tyler Perry movies are one thing, but the plays are like mainlining the TP experience. I love them, but they’re not for amateurs. Thankfully, Madea on the Run is no different.