During my experience watching Boo! A Madea Halloween, I laughed exactly once -- but it was a very hearty laugh. The moment came about 45 minutes into the movie, and I fell into hysterics. Why? Because I had come to the realization that I had spent what felt like a good 15 minutes watching a single scene, featuring writer/director/star Tyler Perry playing three different roles opposite co-stars Cassi Davis and Patrice Lovely. Realizing that I had spent what would be nearly one-fifth of the movie watching a camera bounce around a living room as characters made crude, unfunny jokes about prostates and beating children, I couldn't help but start actually crying with laughter. My mind was simply broken by the idea that this entire sequence actually made it to the big screen in one piece, to the extent that I just about fell into the seat next to me howling.
It's honestly a personal cinematic moment that I will never forget -- but that is the full extent of what I got out of my experience with Boo! A Madea Halloween. Sadly, once I was able to pull myself together I realized my entire capacity for being entertained by the film was drained in one fell swoop, and proceeded to watch the rest of the film in a near stoic state -- my desire for it to just end exponentially rising from scene to unfunny scene.
The ninth film featuring Tyler Perry's most famous character, Boo! A Madea Halloween begins centered on Brian (Tyler Perry), a bland single father who panics when his 17-year-old daughter, Tiffany (Diamond White), gets invited along with her friends to a local fraternity Halloween party. Not wanting his daughter to leave the house, but forced to leave himself, Joe calls his aunt Madea (Tyler Perry) and asks if she can come over to keep an eye on things. This takes you about 15 minutes into the movie, and at this point there isn't even a single joke -- just exposition.
After some protest, Madea drags along her crotchety brother/Brian's father, Joe (Tyler Perry), as well as her friends Aunt Bam (Cassie Davis) -- whose entire bit revolves around the possession of a medical marijuana card - and Hattie (Patrice Lovely) -- who isn't so much funny as ungodly annoying. The group posts up in Brian's living room (a location ultimately featured in what feels like 75% of the film), but Tiffany and her meek pal Aday (Liza Koshy) attempt to throw them off their guard by telling them a story about the house being haunted. While the girls are able to escape, it's not long before Madea discovers they're missing, and sets off into the night to get into vengeful conflicts with her niece and a handful of personality-less frat boys.
The movie was shot over a period of just six days, but it feels like it was written in a fraction of that time -- if not in just one stream-of-consciousness burst. With absolutely no kind of pacing or structure, the movie just ambles narratively from one scene to the next, never putting together a full story let alone any kind of arcs or character development. What's more, it's completely lacking in any kind of cinematic scope, as it feels glued to a limited number of sets (seemingly a result of Tyler Perry's experience as a playwright in addition to a limited production budget), and feels like it's trying to burn through runtime every moment with more and more obnoxious jokes and limited physical comedy.
Boo! A Madea Halloween was my first experience with Tyler Perry's Madea franchise, and while the other titles in the series might be shades better, the reality is that I have no real desire to find out. Instead, I'm going to play it like a smart gambler: I experienced a genuine moment of hysterics as a result of just how bad one truly terrible scene was, and with no expectation of ever getting that from Madea-related antics ever again, I'm just walking away from the table. I recommend not even stepping up to it in the first place.