“Ma to the d**n D, E, A!” is what we hear in our heads when we think of Tyler Perry’s character (played by himself) Mabel Simmons, better known as Madea. In most of the movies where Madea is showcased, every scene she stars in is full of humor, sarcasm, and excitement. She is a character that is loving, caring, selfish, wise, violent, thuggish, and nothing shy of hilarious. Her first appearance in a film was Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), which opened gateways for what Perry would later turn into a worldwide phenomenon and franchise. Since then, Madea has been everywhere; from the jail time she spent for grand theft auto to the Christmas-themed A Madea Christmas, released Friday, December 13th.

Eileen (actress) instructs a stubborn Madea (Tyler Perry) on what to do in the department store.
Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) instructs a stubborn Madea (Tyler Perry) on what to do in the department store.

This tough-skinned African American grandmother who lives in what she refers to as the “ghetto” shows no mercy towards those who act unjustly in society or sour towards her self. Unfortunately, this holiday filled motion picture falls short of what Perry’s fans crave. There are those that couldn’t care less how bad the acting in every scene is as long as they get a glimpse of Madea and laugh off whatever stress they may obtain. Other fans, though, watch on from a standpoint of: “Yes this character is fantastic, but why doesn’t Tyler Perry take the time to bring talents together and make hit films like back in the day?” This, if it isn’t already obvious, is the view from which this review being written.

The story starts off in a department store with a forcefully volunteered and anxious Madea found in a dressing room in Santa Claus attire after taking the part-time service as a favor for her friend, Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford). Lacey (Tika Sumpter) is Eileen’s daughter and is by no means able to receive any visitors for Christmas, due to her busy schedule.

The small, minorly populated school hosts an annual festival called the Christmas Jubilee, but the faculty to exhaust themselves after they come up short on payments and debt. Lacey suggests getting a donation from an old long time lover of hers who claims he can find a sponsor in no time. Oliver (JR Lemon), her ex, pulls through only to realize that his so called “sponsor” is a construction agency that had once in past already built on the town’s property, ruining most of the land, and was now permitted to be at it again. To make matters worse and put little to no value on a $100,000 check, Lacey fails to mention to her mother the fact that she eloped with her country dream guy Conner (Eric Lively), something she knew her mother wouldn’t approve of.

With all the weight on Lacey’s shoulders, spending a Christmas with Conner, his parents, her mother, and a character of Madea’s caliber is pretty hard. Fortunately, as time progresses, the lie about Conner being her tenant comes out into the open as truth for her mother is only get angry and refuse to spend such an evening together out in the middle of nowhere.

The biggest issue I could not get over was the horrible acting. It seems to me that Mr. Perry needs to take time and accumulate money, thoughts, and a well made script, because what he has recently produced is not up to par with any Madea film of the past. Maybe being this particular is dramatic, or maybe–just maybe–fans get tired of watching a movie where one character is the hype of what they pay for yet, they get stuck watching a boring plot with people who can’t portray emotions in a natural state of being. I am a lover of all his works, but disappointed without a doubt. It could’ve been better. If, and only if, they are going to make such a loving character and not put them in 9 out of 10 scenes each time, what is the point? Might as well create a well rounded product. Against all odds, the ending is just what most would expect–happy. And forever, or at least for now, Tyler Perry’s Madea franchise will live on. Score: 6/10

Ricardo Morales/Graphics Dept.

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