The Sterling Standard in Movie Reviews 

Follow Us On:


 It's Scary That This Film Ever Got Made 

Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry
 101 Minutes
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Tyler Perry
Starring: Tyler Perry, Patrice Lovely, Cassi Davis 
Boo! 2 A Madea Halloween

In the heyday of Hollywood’s studio system in the 1930’s, directors routinely cranked out literally dozens of films per year, a pace that seems incredible today. Yet, I get the feeling that, if he put his mind to it, Tyler Perry could do the same thing with his Madea movies. After all, he and his fellow regulars know their parts and their routines, the plotting is virtually non-existent, and Tyler never bothers with niceties like elaborate setups or set pieces. If he did elect to crank out movies at such a pace, they would look pretty much like Boo 2! A Madea Halloween.


Last year, Perry’s Halloween weekend comedy, Boo! A Madea Halloween, did surprisingly well at the box office, so a sequel came as no surprise. What was a bit of a surprise is that Perry was able to get the film made and into theaters in the space of a year. What was even more of a surprise is that the sequel, while not by any means Shakespearean, isn’t a total disaster.


Just as Boo 2 arrives in theaters a year after its predecessor, its story picks up a year later as well. In the first film, Tiffani (Diamond White), the 17-year-old daughter of Brian Simmons (Perry) goes off to a college fraternity party against her father’s wishes, only to have Brian’s aunt Madea (also Perry) and father Joe (again also Perry) set things straight. Along the way, Madea and company found themselves the targets of non-scary “scary” pranks, courtesy of the frat boys, the object of which was to keep them at home.


This time around, in Boo 2, it’s again Halloween, and, again, Tiffani wants to go to a party at the frat house with the same bunch of overaged idiot frat boys, led by Jonathan (Yousef Erakat). But now, Tiffani has finally turned 18, so she can carouse legally, as she gleefully explains to Jonathan and company. The main problem is Brian, who has arranged a party at his house for Tiffani that includes the same kids she hung out with in elementary school and treats including pony rides. For some astonishing reason, Tiffani decides to sneak out to the frat party, even though it’s being held at Lake Derrick, sort of a pale imitation of Camp Crystal Lake from the Friday the 13th movies. Lake Derrick is the site of a number of unsolved murders from decades earlier and is considered haunted by locals.


Fortunately for Tiffani, her mother (Taja V Simpson, an actress not in the first film) shows up with the keys to the kingdom, or, in this case a birthday present of a new car that allows her to go to the party, where the partygoers engage in several hours of drinking, acting stupid, and engaging in PG-13 types of romantic revelry. Tiffani’s party is interrupted by two sets of party crashers. First, there’s Madea, Joe, and their cronies Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and Miss Hattie (Patrice Lovely), who drive to the lake in Madea’s decrepit car at a speed of about two miles an hour. Then, there are some odd characters including a guy with a chainsaw and a girl who is a dead ringer for the girl in the Ring movies. Following their appearance, the number of partygoers begins to decrease dramatically.


These Madea Halloween movies began as a throwaway gag in Chris Rock’s Top Five movie and quickly assumed a life of their own. The ultimate inspiration for them was a series of low budget 1940’s and 50’s films featuring Abbott and Costello, in which the pair wound up meeting various Universal horror stalwarts like the Mummy, Frankenstein, and even Boris Karloff himself. The thought of the tougher-than-nails Madea taking on Jason Voorhees or Leatherface has an enormous appeal to it at a certain level. However, the first film pretty much bungled that possibility and Boo 2 isn’t much better.


Mixing scares and laughs is a tricky proposition under any circumstances, but Tyler Perry proves uniquely incapable of making it work here, as the clip below amply demonstrates. His directorial technique is rather crude, and his attempts at scripted jokes don’t work too well either. In addition, Boo 2, like many of his works, winds up being a thinly veiled morality play, with a heavy emphasis on the moralizing. Admittedly, Madea and Joe would never find themselves in a traditional faith-based film, but Perry’s messaging and lack of subtlety are quite similar to what’s found in Kirk Cameron efforts.


Nor is Perry helped by the inanely ridiculous characters he has created. Madea and her crew by now are beyond criticism for being incredible. They are simply presences to be accepted for what they are. But the other characters, especially Perry’s Brian, struggle to achieve even one dimension. Brian, never the strongest character to begin with, comes off as a completely clueless wimp (I’d use another term to describe him, but I don’t want this review to be more risqué than the film itself) whose idea of a big eighteenth birthday present for his daughter is a set of headphones. I hope that’s Perry’s idea of a joke, but it bombs like nearly every other scripted joke in the film. In fact, the only shtick that does work is a bit late in the movie in which Madea, at a police station, tries to camouflage wanted posters of herself.


So, as in most Madea comedies, the main attraction of Boo 2, and, in this case, virtually the only attraction, is the essentially unscripted riffing among Perry, Davis, and Lovely. Unlike most improv comedy, the Madea scenes are especially difficult since they have to be filmed in multiple takes, with Perry assuming two roles. Sometimes, these scenes are inspired; here they are at best tolerable (and they show signs of dubbing, as some language had to be edited down for the PG-13 rating). And, of course, the scenes always go on too long, as Perry doesn’t seem to know how and when to end a scene.


I am admittedly a big Madea fan, so my rating is probably higher than that of most critics. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween is by no means a good movie, and, it’s once that probably wouldn’t have garnered a passing grade for Perry in film school, but it still features his best creation doing what she (and he) does best. There are too many tricks in this movie’s grab bag to recommend, but the occasional treat is still enjoyable.

In this scene, Tyler Perry as Madea and Patrice Lovely encounter some ghosts while on a trip to the outhouse.

Read other reviews of Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween: 

Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (2017) on IMDb