Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (2017) Review

NOT ANOTHER MADEA HALLOWEEN MOVIE


 

Last Halloween (circa 2016), Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween was released a week and half before the October 31st celebration. Much like his other “Madea” movies, Perry, who directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the feature, plays his iconic character in a Halloween comedy romp for the scary season. However, the movie itself hard anything from Perry’s best work (even in the realm of his Madea based-films), finding Boo! A Madea Halloween to be unfunny (low-brow comedy), bad acted by some of its cast, and just stale work on Perry’s efforts. Despite the movie getting trashed by critics (and some moviegoers) and receiving negative reviews, Boo! A Madea Halloween was still able manage to make a small profit at the box office, cultivating almost $75 million dollars against its $20 million production budget. Now, roughly a year after its release, Lionsgate (and Tyler Perry Studios), and (as director) Tyler Perry present the second go-around of the Halloween spirit with the follow-up sequel Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. Is this second Madea Halloween installment worth a glance or should Perry just give up on the holiday based films (and possibly his foul-mouthed female character all together)?

THE STORY


A year has passed since the events of the first film, with the arrival of Halloween and Tiffany Simmons (Diamond White) celebrating her 18th birthday and assumed that her father, Brian (Tyler Perry) is gonna give her a new car as a present. Unfortunately, Brian doesn’t, angering Tiffany frustration with her father, but perks up when her mother, Debrah (Taja V. Simpson) and Brian’s antagonistic ex, shows up and gives her dream car for her birthday. Using the present to race over to the Upsilon Theta Fraternity, Tiffany and her friend, Gabriella (Inanna Sarkis), hope to join their annual Halloween party, freaking out frat boy Jonathan (Yousef Erakat), who doesn’t want anything to do with the once underage teen. However, now of legal age, the girls receive an invite to their Halloween costume party, which is now being held at a haunted lake in the woods that once played home to a mass murder. However, Brian objects, which Tiffany refuses (conning her mother in letting her go) and prepares to celebrate and party all night long. Caught up in the struggle is Mabel “Madea” Simmons (Tyler Perry), who goes out to the lake to retrieve Tiffany from the party, accompanied by Joe Simmons (Tyler Perry), Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), and their friend Hattie (Patrice Lovely). However, what starts out as a retrieval mission becomes something more dangerous, as Madea, Tiffany, and everyone else get caught up in an actual threat in the area, chased around by a chainsaw-wielding killer and his ghostly daughter.

THE GOOD / THE BAD


Ugh…. what can I say about Boo! A Madea Halloween. Granted, I know that Perry’s Madea movies aren’t the cleverest and original films out there, but I was still expecting something more than what was presented, which was mostly uninspiring feature that bared registered to be entertaining. Maybe it was weak storyline, or the elongated improv sketch sequences, or the laughable dialogue, or even the bad acting in several characters. At the very least, Perry’s character of Madea was somewhat humorous (at some parts) and the movie did have vague moral lesson to be learned (found within the characters of Brian and Tiffany). However, those positive qualities weren’t enough to ultimately redeem the film as I personally found Boo! A Made Halloween to be “bland” and “derivate” to the past Madea movies and really didn’t bring much of laugh or creativity, save a few comedy bits and the Halloween themed premise. I even placed this movie at #6 on my Top Ten Worst Movies of 2016 list.

I really didn’t think much of this movie and really didn’t expect a sequel to be greenlit. Well, Perry did put up the money for it (under his studio), so he probably had the financial means to create another Madea Halloween movie. That, and the fact that the first film did make its money back (and then some) as a small and sizable return of profit. So, here we are. Another year and another Madea Halloween movie. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and just felt unimpressed with what I saw, having a feeling in gut that it was gonna be the same as the last film. Like I said, I really didn’t expect much of the first film and I really didn’t expect much out of Boo 2!. However, I decided to take a chance and go see the movie. What did I think of it? Was it better than the first film? Unfortunately, no. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween is a bad movie, rehashing ideas from the first installment and lacking in all the same categories, which only makes this second Halloween endeavor all the worst to watch and endure.

As stated in the opening paragraph, Tyler Perry usually wears multiple hats when creating his brand of movies, finding Perry in the roles of director, writer, producer, and starring (as Madea) in Boo 2!. This, of course, means that Perry has basically free range of the entire feature in both in front and behind the camera in crafting this second Halloween installment within his own created cinematic world, which happens to include his signature character of Madea. Thus, Perry is given full-license within Boo 2!, creating a film that caters to his followers and having ample time to do fully capitalize on his improvisation work (himself and his other co-stars) throughout the movie. The movie never takes itself too seriously and maybe that’s a good thing as Boo 2! is perhaps the silliest Tyler Perry he’s never made, including his Madea movies.

Unfortunately, Boo 2! is far, far, far away from being a masterpiece even by the standards Perry’s other Madea films. That’s because the movie itself is riddled with so many numerous (and do mean numerous) problems that hamper the movie greatly from even being slightest mediocre at best. The movie mostly is deplorable, finding itself severally redundant from beginning to end. Perhaps the reason for that is it was making a sequel to Boo! A Madea Halloween. Yes, it was sort of interesting (or rather amusing) to see Madea and crew having a comedy adventure with a Halloween themed picture, but the first film was not even that spectacular to be that endearing or even memorable. Thus, it boggles the mind why Perry would want to revisit this setting again. Furthermore, and perhaps the main crux of it all, Boo 2! is basically a recycled version of its predecessor. There are a few scenarios here and there that differ between the two, but (in a nutshell) is almost a duplicate, seeing the same problems arise, same jokes, same gags, and same pretty much everything. What makes it even worse is the fact that, while Boo 2! follows a similar path to the first film, it does it to a lesser degree. In short, Boo 2! lacks any originality to its name, feeling very much derivate to 2016’s Boo! and to any other Madea movie out there.

However, this means that every single problem that appeared in the first Boo! movie returns in Boo 2!, with more diluted execution and agonizing results. The movie is woefully weak and lacks substance, feeling like a very thinly sketched story that should’ve been a fun extra “short film” on the first Boo! movie (on the DVD and / or Blu-Ray release). Again, it’s the same scenario from the original film (i.e. Tiffany is frustrated with her dad, she goes against his wishes, Brian involves Madea, the frat brothers at Upsilon Theta Fraternity get involved somehow, comedic panic ensues, and the ending gets wrapped up in jokingly fashion), but it’s all just been recycled and feels extremely tiresome, with Perry lacking any imagination or originality to sort of “spice up” Boo 2!. Additionally, Perry continues his usually trend of devoting a lot of time to superfluously “improvisation” sequences where most of the on-screen characters usually bicker and banter with each other for the duties of comedic jokes. Unfortunately, just causes a lot of “filler” time throughout the feature with most jokes being poorly written and DOA (dead on arrival). In be truthful, a lot of the comedy bits throughout Boo 2! fall flat, with most being unfunny and only a few (and I do mean a few) were only worth a chuckle or two. Even the Halloween premise of the movie feels generic, utilizing the same old tiresome routine of masked chainsaw killers and a ghoulish little girl (similar to the one in the movie The Ring). However, these Halloween horror elements just feel bland and hardly register as the movie could’ve really dismissed all the whole Halloween scenario and could’ve taken place some other time. Also, the film’s runtime, which is 103 minutes, feels way too long, especially when adding a lot of the lollygagging “filler” improv skits. Basically, the movie could’ve been told in 45 minutes (possibly shorter).

Tyler Perry usually has some type of moral / message / lesson to be learned in his movies (some a bit more macabre / serious than others), finding the first Boo! film taking the stance of somewhat toxic father / daughter relationship (i.e. Brian not letting Tiffany walk all over him). Boo 2! however, doesn’t really pose any sort of moral lesson to be learned. In fact, Boo 2! Basically, Perry negates the lesson learned from the first film, finding the relationship between Brian and Tiffany reverting back to where it was at the beginning of the first movie (the two of them at odds once again). Even so, their resolution to their problem in Boo 2! is never fully realized and just comes off as a weak element to the movie, which is disappointing and stupidly odd on Perry’s part.

Similarly negative, the cast for Boo 2! fails in the same way that it did in the first film, with most of the movie’s characters (if not all) being cardboard “cookie cutter” cutouts, with extremely weak / corny personas that barely challenge any of them as actors. Naturally, Tyler Perry is front and center of the feature, playing the outspoken, linebacker-sized female protagonist Mabel “Madea” Simmons. It’s Perry’s signature character within his cinematic movie universe and he always seems to have the most fun in portraying these titular comedic character, which usually produces the most laughs (when she’s on-screen) and probably the best part of all the Madea movies, including this one. The problem, however, is that Perry really doesn’t bring anything new to the character, which makes the character of Madea (as a whole) stagnant. Basically, the character is becoming really stale and Boo 2! does little to advance her, beyond her typical classic styles of saying what’s ever on her mind. It’s a certainly is a fun role to see and watch (especially what she says on various topics and scenarios), but Perry’s Madea needs to be retired from his films or evolve beyond her current iteration. Likewise, the same with Perry’s other character of Joe Simmons, who does in a similar persona of Madea (an old timer who speaks his mind freely and openly), but has been dialed up a little bit more in Boo 2!, finding Joe having a bit more humorous lines that actually stick their landing. As I said before, both characters (Madea and Joe) are groundbreaking and do need to be tweaked, but are probably the best characters in this Halloween sequel. Then there’s Perry’s last role in the movie as the character of Mike Simmons, who is the more of the straight-laced character of the three. Like before, the character is nothing memorable in the parts that Perry as played before, but it’s kind of mixed bag. This is because of the character of Brian is a bland role (recycled from the first one), but Perry is good in it, despite the role being corny at times.

The other two adult stars, Cassi Davis’s (House of Payne and Madea’s Big Happy Family) Aunt Bam and Patrice Lovely’s (Love Thy Neighbor and Madea Gets a Job) as Hattie Mae Love are thinly sketched characters, who really don’t have much to offer in the movie and are basically “window dressing” for the feature. Like Perry’s Madea, these two characters are stale and are getting old, despite their quirky / odd personas. The movie does add several new adult characters, such as real-life UFC fighter Tito Ortiz as Victor (Gabriella’s father) and Taja V. Simpson (Intercept and Sharia) as Tiffany’s mother (Brian’s ex-wife) Debrah. While I have nothing wrong with Ortiz’s portrayal of Victor, but Simpson’s performance of Debrah is badly cliched and almost cringe-worthy. Basically, her character is almost identical to Diamond White’s Tiffany character. However, her character’s journey has little impact and is only there to move the plot forward at the beginning and nothing more.

With the most of the older cast give okay performances, the younger cast members in Boo 2! are mostly terrible and almost downright cringe-worthy. Like last time, Diamond White’s Tiffany Simmons is the prime example of this. White (Transformers: Rescue Bots and Guidance) is just terrible in the movie (as she was in the first Boo! movie), but it’s just shown in a worse light in this sequel. I get it that she portrays Tiffany as a spoiled and rebellious newly minted 18-year old teen, but it doesn’t help that White’s acting is bad. I just cringe when she acts or basically talks. However, perhaps the worst performance has to be Internet YouTube star Yousef Erakat who returns to reprise his role as big honcho frat brother Jonathan. If you think White’s acting was bad, but Erakat is extremely deplorable and his character is so stupid, goofy, and awful. He might have famous online, but definitely not in Boo 2!. Most of the other younger cast members from the first Boo! film return, including Lexy Panterra (Pray for Rain and Born to Race) as Tiffany’s friend Leah Deveraux, Inanna Sarkis (Happy Birthday and Rookie Blue) as Tiffany’s other friend Gabriella, Mike Tornabene (Bro Science and Seven Bucks Digital Studios) as frat brother Dino, and Brock O’Hurn (Too Close to Home) as frat brother Horse. Like the first movie, most of these characters are cliched and forgettable, but Boo 2! just amplifies how bad their characters are written and / or performances.

FINAL THOUGHTS


The ramblings and comedic styles of Tyler Perry’s Madea (and the rest of her company) return for another Halloween tale in the movie Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. Tyler Perry’s newest feature film sees his iconic character return for a second Halloween adventure to its 2016 predecessor. What follows is the standard proceedings of a Madea movie, with Perry’s Madea stuck in the middle of everything that’s going on. Unfortunately, Perry doesn’t change his tiresome comedy shtick formula, which makes the entire movie boring, unoriginal, and unfunny, and just downright terrible. Personally, I thought this was awfully bad (and not in the good bad sense), especially with its recycled plot beats, weak narrative, bland characters, bad writing, bad acting, and infamous elongated comedy sketches. I really didn’t expect this movie to be incredibly great, but even the first movie was better than this sequel. Thus, and this comes as no surprise, that I will definitely (and unequivocally) give this movie a hard skip it as there’s really no reason to see this movie (unless you’re a hardcore / die-hard fan of Perry’s Madea). In the end, Boo 2! A Madea Halloween represent how stale and unoriginal Tyler Perry’s Madea endeavors have become, replacing promising creative ingenuity for cheap improvisation laughs and uninspiring ones at that. Flat out…. this is just a bad movie. Plain and simple!

1.4 Out of 5 (Skip It)

 

Released On: October 20th, 2017
Reviewed On: October 22nd, 2017

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween  is 101 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for sexual references, drug content, language and some horror images

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