“Black people never bury anyone in two days!” says Madea (Tyler Perry) to granddaughter Vianne (Jen Harper). “It’s illegal!” Gathered to celebrate Vianne and husband Anthony’s anniversary, the family learns that Anthony has died of a heart attack. Hattie (Patrice Lovely), long-time crony of Madea, says, “A heart attack can sure put a damper on an anniversary party.” That’s the setup for “A Madea Family Funeral,” the 11th Madea comedy from Tyler Perry.
What was Anthony up to in a hotel room when his fatal heart attack began? What was his married son, AJ, doing in the room next door? Are there more family secrets? For answers, see “A Madea Family Funeral.”
Tyler Perry created Mabel “Madea” Simmons for the stage in 1999, and has been playing her on stage and screen ever since. He knows her well, especially Madea’s tough and hard side. She backhands her brother, Joe, knocking out his dentures, when he starts to tell how Anthony died. “Family is all you got,” Madea says, shutting him up, “even if you don’t like ‘em.” Joe, a Vietnam vet, and Madea’s other brother, low-brow Heathrow, are both played by Perry. (Perry also plays Madea’s nephew, Brian Simmons, a criminal defense lawyer.) Cassi Davis and Patrice Lovely are Madea’s retirement-home best friends, Aunt Bam and Hattie. Like Madea, they’re over-the-top and just as sassy.
Others in the large and attractive cast include Courtney Burrell and Rome Flynn as Anthony and Vianne’s adult sons, AJ and Jesse. AJ’s wife, Carol, is played by KJ Smith; Jesse’s fiancé, Gia, by Aeriel Miranda. Derek Morgan is Anthony, smiling in his casket, still responding to Viagra. Jen Harper is his widow, Vianne. Ary Katz is the undertaker, who says of Anthony, “He was a happy man in his final moment.”
“A Madea Family Funeral,” according to writer/director/star Tyler Perry, is the last Madea movie or play — at least for a while. “I’ll be 50 this year,” he says, “and I’m just at a place where … I want to do things differently.” But there’s no farewell speech from Madea in this film. That honor goes to Jen Harper as Vianne who tells her family how she feels about her now-deceased, philandering husband and her own plans for the weekend. Madea, the family matriarch, agrees: “When somebody does to you what ain’t right, you take charge.”
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content, language and drug references, “A Madea Family Funeral” runs 109 minutes, equal parts TV family melodrama and raunchy verbal sparring among members of Madea’s geriatric crew. A film for older teens and adults.
Death complicates the plot;
At the wake Madea says,
“Family is all you got.”