Tyler Perry’s raucous, pistol-packin’ grandma Medea is at it again—but this time she takes on a small town at Christmas time. A Madea Christmas opened in the number three spot at the box office last weekend (an enviable position) with almost $16 million. Tyler Perry fans (and I count myself among them) will love Medea’s take on the holidays, Santa and keeping Christ in Christmas. She manages to put the ‘politically-correct crowd’ in their place with her usual outspoken wit, sharp tongue and outrageous slapstick humor.
In A Madea Christmas, this time our heroine’s co-star is the unsurpassed Larry the Cable Guy. Between the two of them they turn Christmas upside down. It may not be the funniest ‘Madea’ movie Perry has ever made but it is fun for the whole family and full of compassionate Christmas good will and lopsided cheer.
Madea’s sister Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) recruits her to visit her daughter Lacey (Tika Sumpter) in a small town in Alabama for the holidays. Eileen hasn’t seen Lacey in some time and is excited about surprising her. However, when Medea and Eileen arrive at Lacey’s farm, they’re the ones who encounter a number of hilarious surprises. First of all, they are introduced to Lacey’s farm hand Connor (Eric Lively). Medea suspects there’s more to their employer/employee relationship than meets the eye.
The next surprise is when Conner’s parents arrive for a Christmas visit. Buddy and Kim, played by Larry the Cable Guy (Larry the Cable Guy movies, albums and the History Channel’s Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy) and Kathy Najimy (Sister Act: 2, Hocus Pocus) are very proud of their son and are unaware that Eileen and Madea are going to be at Conner’s house. They decide to make the best of it and move in with their bags. This makes Eileen furious and Madea curious.
As the small, rural town prepares for its annual Christmas Jubilee, new secrets are revealed and old relationships are tested while Madea dishes her own brand of Christmas Spirit to all.
As with every Madea movie, the focus of the film is on her. Medea’s stint playing Santa is the funniest spin on the bearded gift giver ever. But although she has her outrageous moments, her heart is always in the right place. Everyone’s favorite whacky grandma embarks on diatribes that are certainly not politically correct, but Medea always comes out on top with her humorous, folksy wisdom.
Perry has assembled a large cast for this film, which he also wrote and directed. In addition to Perry himself, Horsford, Larry the Cable Guy, Sumpter, Najimy and Lively, we also have performances by Chad Michael Murray, Alicia Witt, Lisa Welchel and Noah Urrea—each with an integral role in the story.
Perry gives Madea free reign in this movie and steps on more than a few toes. His villains are the ones who want to keep Christ out of Christmas. This may offend a few people but when you are as popular and successful as Perry/Medea you can be unpolitically correct and get away with it—as long as the crowds keep coming to your movies.
A Madea Christmas runs a ‘too rapid’ one hour and 40 minutes. It’s rated PG-13 for a few sexual references, spicy language and some crude humor. It’s still fine for kids, in my opinion. Playing in nearly 2,200 theatres, this is Perry’s eighth Medea film.