Mabel "Madea" Simmons is back for (supposedly) one final movie in Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral, and she's being sent off with the usual tongue-lashing in reviews. A Madea Family Funeral is the eleventh movie in the series that kicked off with Diary of a Mad Black Woman in 2005 (the character made her debut in Perry's 1999 play I Can Do Bad All By Myself), and once again stars Perry as the titular tough-as-nails grandmother - as well as several other characters.
In A Madea Family Funeral, Madea and co. organize a funeral for Anthony (Derek Morgan), a family patriarch who died in a rather compromising position. Though the story may sound tragic, the movie itself is anything but somber and reverent. For example, due to the nature of his death, Anthony has a physical condition that makes it rather difficult to keep the coffin lid shut.
While the Madea movies almost always receive poor reviews, critics don't seem to have too much genuine hatred for them and they generally manage to be low-key box office successes. 2016's Boo! A Madea Halloween grossed almost $75 million, with a production budget of just $20 million, and A Madea Family Funeral is already off to a strong start with an above-expectations $25 million opening weekend. However, that doesn't mean the critics have been holding back, and the movie currently has a score of 24% on Rotten Tomatoes. Here are some of the most brutal reviews of A Madea Family Funeral.
"[Tyler Perry] says it only took a week to shoot the final chapter. At first you think that’s amazing. By the end, you’re amazed it took him so long to create such a slack, formless, monotonous mess... Everything spills out in a cacophony of voices trying to scream over each other to diminishing returns in laughs."
"Considering how well the character has served him, Perry certainly doesn't return the favor in this graceless installment combining raucous comedy and turgid melodrama to undigestible effect... this film, like almost all of his others, has a tossed-off quality, giving the impression it was written and shot over a long weekend."
"Typical of Tyler Perry’s Madea series: excruciating and baffling with occasional flecks of bemusement at how misguided it is; garishly lit and cheap-looking, like it was shot on a sitcom soundstage (which it was); woefully overlong and ham-fistedly plotted because writer-director-producer Perry keeps hitting pay dirt with these things and has no incentive to improve."
"The feature quickly becomes a tennis match between wildly disparate tones, which, for two hours, makes the viewing experience feel like a kidnapping... So much of A Madea’s Family Funeral feels endless, hostile, and lazy, with Perry using a stencil to complete his script. This isn’t a loving farewell, but a slapdash final chapter (at least until Perry runs out of money), making it easy to bid adieu to the dreadful character and her toxic clan."
"The press notes say this movie was filmed in a week. I believe it. It also seems to have been written in a week. Maybe shorter, who knows?!. Perry's production as a scripter has always been something to marvel at. I swear there have been some scripts he's written where he ordered a pizza, started writing, and finished the script by the time the pizza delivery guy arrived at his doorstep. This might have been one of them. I bury this franchise with a 1 out of 10."
While those quotes aren't great, it's not all bad press for A Madea Family Funeral. Tyler Perry's latest received a bit of praise as well, with even some the "Rotten" reviews finding nice things to say.
"Compared to how the last two Madea movies felt creatively bankrupt (aka stemmed from a joke by Chris Rock in his own movie), A Madea Family Funeral actually feels inspired... As fundamentally flawed and trashy as it is, the film harks back to classic Perry in his roots. It kind of had me nostalgic of the days of my childhood where I used to put on the bootleg copies of his plays that my family had and watch them together. Those were good times."
"To those who do appreciate the character, A Madea Family Funeral is stacked with heart and snappy banter. For all of the flack this series gets from some critical circles, I have personally always enjoyed and respected Perry’s films to varying degrees, with this being no exception. In Madea, Perry created a character who spoke to an audience that no other filmmaker was talking to, and in turn, created a world whose audience grew more inclusive as it went on."
"Madea’s last hurrah is Perry’s best film since his most dramatically successful I Can Do Bad All By Myself.... I cop to laughing out loud numerous times, and I was captivated by Vianne’s big “what’s good for the goose” style speech at the end. If A Madea Family Funeral is indeed the final “Hallelu-YUHRR” for Madea, it’s not that shabby an exit."
A running theme in almost all of the reviews was incredulity towards Perry's claim that this is his last Madea movie - and given how well the character has served him over the years, critics may be right to doubt that Madea is truly gone for good.