Tyler Perry goes be-frocked – again

2012-08-31 10:22

Film: Madea’s Witness Protection (Ster-Kinekor)

Director: Tyler Perry

Featuring: Tyler Perry, Denise Richards, Eugene Levy and Tom Arnold

Rating: 5/10

There’s a silliness – or is it naivety? – to Tyler Perry’s films. In this latest Madea madness, Tyler Perry takes on Wall Street in his own special way.

Eugene Levy, most famous for being Jim’s dad in American Pie, is an accountant left to carry the can when a firm of investment bankers are caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Tyler Perry – as a man – is Brian (you’ll remember him from all the other Madea films) who believes Levy’s George can lead them to the big fish.

Though to keep him safe he needs to be put in a safe house. Enter Madea – Perry in big frocks and a wig – who reluctantly agrees to put George’s family up.

The family consists of George, his svelte young wife Kate (Denise Richards – who was Bond girl Christmas Jones before she was Charlie Sheen’s ex), their back-chatty daughter and pudgy son. Unsurprisingly for a Perry flick all this family is short of is a large dose of home truths seasoned with a few fart jokes, some deep fried food and – in the case of the teenager – a bucket of water.

Hey presto, from dysfunctional rich folks to real folks in 90 minutes.

Perry’s trouble is that his Madea character is so unlike any no-nonsense aunt anyone’s got.

She has flashes of brilliance (again, the bucket of water), but there is too much inherent sexism in his stories for anyone to really buy that these are stories that celebrate the strong female character he tries to portray.

Madea takes care of business – family business – like giving advice, making dinner, never going out to work, all the roles carved out for women by a patriarchial society.

Because she never steps out of this mould it’s hard not to be mildly offended by Perry’s be-frocked alter-ego.

However, Perry’s films have a staunch audience and this one will no doubt hit the spot for those who like his particularly unsubtle brand of humour. Personally I find him a whole lot less offensive than Adam Sandler and Will Farrell – doesn’t mean I’d spend another 90 minutes with him if I can help it though.

Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

For reviews of the remake of Total Recall and Sean Penn’s latest, This Must Be The Place see 7 on Sunday

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