"Asking For It is one of the least enjoyable films I’ve sat through"
TYLER PERRY'S A MADEA HOMECOMING (2022)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"Madea's back hallelujer. And she's not putting up with any nonsense as family drama erupts at her great-grandson's college graduation celebration."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming was released on Netflix this past week (02.25.22) and follows the shenanigans that occur when the entire family gets together at Madea’s place to celebrate the college graduation of Tim. Like previous entries in the series, it’s centered around Tyler Perry’s dual role as Madea/Uncle Joe, and at times, is pretty funny. However, for most of its brief 105-minute runtime, its jokes don’t vary and are often not that funny.
Let’s talk about writing and performances first. Tyler Perry’s acting as the great-grandmother Madea and Uncle Joe are as fun as can be. Perry’s movement, speaking pattern, and comedic timing create the distinct personas at the center of A Madea Homecoming, and it’s a highlight of the film. Joining Tyler Perry is Brendan O’Carroll, reprising the role of Mrs. Agnes Brown, and his work here also is quite good on a technical level. The role is very shallow, but the performance, and the make-up and costume department, sell it.
The remaining older family members can often be quite fun as well, with David Mann’s Mr. Brown standing out far above the rest. His comedic contributions are some of the only physical gags in the film, and it works great.
That being said, the rest of the cast feels often wasted in the film. Candace Maxwell, Geneva Maccarone, Armani Atkinson, Jennifer Gibney, and Gabrielle Dennis aren’t given a whole lot to do outside of keeping the peace in this extended family reunion. The emotional core of the film is helmed by Brandon Black and Isha Blaaker, and yet they rarely are given much to do at all.
This is the major writing problem at the center of A Madea Homecoming. The character balance is non-existent. There are no gags between the youngest generation in the film, and thus it makes for comedy that is centered on old people being ignorant and dumb about modern politics and modern times. There are plenty of references to modern events, like the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19, and even the 2021 United States Capitol attack, but these don’t make for good comedy. If anything, it makes the film feel dated. Rather than having this be a 93-minute Netflix film, A Madea Homecoming should have aired as a set of SNL sketches 1-2 weeks after those events occurred.
All that goes to say, this film is bad as a standard comedy act and even worse as a film. Tyler Perry has no visual style, often relying on the standard shot-reverse shot coverage technique for the dialogue exchanges. Most scenes occur with characters staying in one single spot, making for a dull viewing experience. And the few times when characters are forced to move, like a gasoline fire gag at the beginning, or when a gun is fired in a house, provide for the best gags because people have to move around.
This is a film that would be better as a stage play, and it would still suck then because the jokes aren’t funny. Comedy may be subjective but saying the same joke for 90 minutes is sure to grind most people's gears, no matter how funny the joke is. And while this newest Madea adventure may be par for the course, it doesn’t warrant a viewing unless you already like these films.