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“Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween!” Movie Review by Van Roberts

Compared to the nine other movies about Mabel Simmons, “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween!” (** OUT ****) qualifies as surprisingly lame and lightweight.  I’ve laughed myself silly at all of Madea’s madcap misadventures, but this sequel to last year’s box office sensation “Boo! A Madea Halloween” is the least maniacal Madea movie in the franchise.  Naturally, not only does the multi-talented Tyler Perry play Madea, but he also chews the scenery as Joe as well as the straight-laced Brian.  The problem with “Boo 2” is Madea winds up blending into the background.  Indeed, dope-smoking, promiscuous Joe with his profane lips lands all the best lines. Meanwhile, Madea ends up doing little if anything until this parody of “Friday the 13th” slasher movies enters its second half-hour.  The best Madea movies are those where Madea looms front and center as well as loud and proud.  She dominates everything and divides her enemies and relatives like Moses did the Red Sea.  Unfortunately, writer & director Tyler Perry has hobbled the world’s looniest lady.  She doesn’t engineer the outcome of his middling comedy of errors about a dysfunctional African-American clan.  Furthermore, Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and Hattie (Patrice Lovely) get more laughs than Madea.

If you skipped “Boo” last year, you probably won’t understand why the situation has changed.  Bryant’s oldest daughter has finally turned 18, and she believes that this solidifies her status as an adult, particularly the things she sought to do before she was 18.  Brian and she initiate everything in “Boo 2” with their contentious father & daughter relationship, while Madea appears on the fringe like a guest star and exerts little, direct impact on these events in general.  In other words, she doesn’t save the day.  Nevertheless, Madea fans will find enough to laugh and smile at even when they aren’t laughing and smiling at Madea.  Produced at a cost of $21 million, “Boo 2” has lots of polish, atmospheric locations, and set-design, and the acting is tolerable. Those goofy fraternity brothers—Vin Diesel lookalike Yousef Erakat and his pal Mike Tornabene—return for more mischief.  However, Joe, Bam, and Hattie steal “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” from the monstrous matron.

“Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” opens as Brian (Tyler Perry) waits at his teenage daughter’s prep school, wearing a cone-shaped party cap, and with a gift in a decorative sack.  Tiffany (Diamond White of “The Lion Guard”) isn’t pleased to see her father.  Usually, Brian takes her home where the family assembles to eat cake and celebrate the occasion.  Tiffany thinks the tradition stinks and wants nothing to do with it.  Brian presents Tiffany with a pair of headphones as her birthday gift, so he won’t have to contend with her music when she is in his car.  Tiffany labored under the delusion that Brian was going to give her a shiny, new car for her birthday, since she is an adult with plans to attend college.  Brian tells Tiffany that she is too irresponsible to have a vehicle.  No sooner has he asserted himself on the subject than his ex-wife, Debra (Taja V. Simpson of “The Preacher’s Son”), parks at the school and hands Tiffany the keys to a new red Mini-Cooper.  Naturally, Brian is disturbed because Debra has given Tiffany something that his daughter hasn’t earned.  Brian reminds Debra that Tiffany is hopelessly irresponsible and will probably get a ticket for reckless driving. As soon as she gets behind the wheel, Tiffany careens off to the Upsilon Theta Fraternity house where she crashed their Halloween party last year with her friend Gabriella (Inanna Sarkis of “A Killer Walks Amongst Us”) in the first “Boo.”  Initially, Tiffany learns that the Upsilon Thetas are throwing another party, but her interference in last year’s party has forced them to hold it somewhere else than their frat house. The fraternity leader, Jonathan (Yousef Erakat of “Natural Born Pranksters”), is relieved to hear that Tiffany is now old enough to drink. As it turns out, they are holding the party at the dilapidated, off-limits Derrick Lake campground where two savage killers attacked amorous couples necking in cars years ago.  Worse, the authorities never caught those homicidal maniacs!

Back at Brian’s house, the unfortunate father must endure no end of ridicule from his relatives, including Madea (Tyler Perry), Joe (Tyler Perry), Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis of “Daddy’s Little Girls”) and Hattie (newcomer Patrice Lovely), for letting his ex-wife one-up him with her birthday gift.  So certain is Tiffany that Brian will not let her attend the Upsilon Theta party that she persuades Debra to let her sleep over at her mother’s house.  Furthermore, she convinces her mom to let her attend the Upsilon party.  As luck would have it, Madea eavesdrops on their conversation and warns Brian about Tiffany’s scheme.  None of this prevents Tiffany from attending the party, and the party goes into full swing with lots of drinking and drugs, until two boogeymen in gas masks wielding chainsaws attack an Upsilon Theta pledge.  A creepy girl who resembles the demons in those Japanese “Ring” horror movies watches them.  At this point, Madea cruises into the haunted campground with Joe, Aunt Bam, and Hattie, collides with another demonic girl, and then confronts the Grim Reaper.  Meantime, Jonathan, Tiffany, Dino, and Gabriella flee from Derrick Lake and take refuge in an abandoned house. Eventually, Brian and Gabriella’s father, Victor (UFC fighter Tito Ortiz of “Cradle 2 the Grave”), ride to the rescue.

“Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” is harmless, half-baked hokum bristling with low-brow slapstick comedy.  Basically, the tenth Madea movie works on the level of an animated “Scooby-Doo” movie.  Of course, everything works out well for everybody, but Madea doesn’t dominate the shenanigans.  Instead, Brian has a large hand in what happens at Derrick Lake.  Far from qualifying as a treat, “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” amounts to little more than a trick.

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