REVIEW: Tyler Perry's a Medea Homecoming

The character of Mable 'Madea' Simmons has been around for years, with Tyler Perry playing the elderly woman who was inspired by some of Perry's real life relatives.  Madea has appeared on stage, television, and films.  Now, in 2022, I have seen Madea for the first time.  Perhaps not worth the wait, it was an experience more pleasurable than I assumed.  

A Madea Homecoming launched on Netflix, a return to the character that Perry had decided to retire after A Madea Family Funeral in 2019.  This is the tenth film starring Madea, a series that has been generally successful.  Part of this is because of the following that Perry has created throughout his prolific career as a director/writer/producer/actor.  Another factor, from a financial perspective, is that the budgets have remained in the realm of $20-$25 million dollars, not swelling over time.  This restraint enabled the series to continue over the years as the threshold for success wasn't as daunting as some other comedy films.

The movie is about relatives getting together to celebrate the graduation of Tim (Brandon Black).  With many different generations of family together, there is no shortage of drama as a few big reveals happen and cause large amounts of tension within the characters.  I was surprised to see Brendan O'Carroll appear as his Agnes Brown character.  Like Perry, he has been playing this elderly woman persona for years, and is known for the television show, Mrs Brown's Boys.

I have in the past chuckled a bit at the character of Mrs Brown, and I chuckled here at Madea.  There were some moments of humour that found their home with me, but ultimately, with both characters, I ended up losing interest.  I don't find a natural level of humour at the premise of a man dressing as a woman.  There needs to be more than just that.  Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) is another example.  Some gimmicks work for me, and others do not.  I suppose that I am just not the target audience for these types of characters.

The main problem that I found with A Madea Homecoming is that for the first two acts not a lot seemed to happen.  The film was mostly a lot of sitting around and talking, which could be an after affect of some of Madea's material being written for the stage.  With the scenery changing very little, it is on the script and the characters to make it compelling, and I felt that I just could not connect enough to both of those.

There were some moments when I would laugh, but the landing rate of the jokes was rather low.  Perhaps I found around ten percent of gags to be funny, which is never a good thing.  Once again, I'm really not the target audience for this type of movie.  The gimmick needs to have more to it that just a man dressing up as a woman and saying some crazy lines.

There was a lot hesitancy in seeing my first Madea movie.  My fears were that I would find it overly irritating and grating.  Thankfully, the film never really aggravated me.  Everything was fine, and that's about the best way I can describe the experience.  The characters were fine, the dialogue was fine, and the story was fine.  None of those ever became great, or even good.  They all just remained as 'fine.'

As an actor, I think Tyler Perry can deliver some great performances.  As a writer and director, I normally don't connect to his works.  When he appears in other people's films, there is a level of skill that shines.  Normally he is just appearing in supporting roles with minimal scenes, and I would really like to see him star in a film that was written and directed by someone else.  With Madea, as well as his other films and shows, I just cannot emerge myself in the material.

Rating - 2.5 out of 4 stars