Once upon a time (okay, it was only a year ago), Tyler Perry brought his most famous creation Madea back to the silver screen for the first time in about three years, and he did so in his first ever genre film. In perfect Tyler Perry fashion, it ended up not being a genre film at all. And in more perfect Tyler Perry fashion, he followed it up with a direct sequel, which is also not a genre film. I love this guy.
Unfortunately, I do not love Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. On pretty much every level, this is a disappointment compared to the first, relatively good film. Tyler Perry never quite became a good director, but he tended to improve throughout his career. This one is a pretty huge step backward for him. There was a rumor going around that he shot the first Boo movie in one single week. I don’t believe it but I would for this one.
Just on a technical level the ineptitude on display here is shocking, even for a Tyler Perry fan. The most egregious sin is a strange phenomenon in which the frequently used word “damn” is blatantly overdubbed with Tyler Perry saying “darn”. There are other instances where curse words are crudely replaced like this, but most times it’s just the word “damn” and one scene in particular gets the treatment over and over again to the point where you assume it’s supposed to be some joke. But it’s not because this film doesn’t really have any jokes.
In addition to that there are tons of flubbed lines, many cases of blocking that looks uncertain and a whole host of potential punchlines robbed by a near-perfect concert of bad deliveries and poorly-timed editing. Sure, all the regular Tyler Perry problems are here as well, but these technical issues aren’t usually quite so pronounced and they distract from regular Tyler Perry insanity.
On that score, we don’t get anything quite as brilliant as the 20-minute-long discussion on the virtues of child abuse from the first film. Instead Perry treats us to a much uglier thematic focus on straight up misogyny. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween offers pretty much every color of “women suck” there is. We get a spoiled brat, a harpy ex-wife, an emotionally unstable crazy girlfriend… even the “good girl” in this one can’t be trusted. They’re all there for the plot to teach them a lesson and justify the rationalism of poor Brian, Perry’s most normal and - if he had any idea how humans acted - relatable avatar in the film.
The plot goes like this. Brian’s daughter Tiffany has just turned eighteen (which would make her six when Diary of a Mad Black Woman came out even though she was played by a thirteen-year-old, so that can’t be right). While Brian still treats her like a child, his ex-wife Debrah - who I think Tyler Perry forgot used to be a drug addict - buys her a car and covers for her so she can go to a party with Boo’s frat boys on a camp site where a bunch of murders once took place. Madea and her crew find out about this and go rescue her. A bunch of Walmart Halloween costumes show up and start raising hell. It ends up being yet another prank, this one pulled by Brian to get the respect of his daughter and ex-wife. Because this is a Tyler Perry movie, it works.
It’s bullshit, but they’re all bullshit. The problem this time is that it’s boring. The usual saving grace with these movies - Madea, Joe and to a lesser extent Bam and this weird-ass new character Hattie - don’t get much action. We see a lot of them, but Perry can’t think of anything for them to do beyond yell at each other and complain. He picks a few jokes and just has the crew - especially Joe - repeat them over and over again. Perry’s jokes have never been complex, but I don’t think they’ve ever been this lazy.
There’s a newer adage that you can always tell how bad a comedy is by whether or not they put bloopers over the ending credits. This one is so bad they put the bloopers BEFORE the ending credits even begin. I don’t know if I can put it any better than that. Even Tyler Perry fans should skip this one. It’s up there with The Single Moms Club as one of his worst.