Madea's Witness Protection Jul 15, 2012 15:01:03 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 15, 2012 15:01:03 GMT -5
Tyler Perry, his trademark grandmother outfit, and Eugene Levy in Madea's Witness Protection.
Eugene Levy is such a gifted actor, with an ability to play confused, quirky, and lovable in a very earnest way. Here, he is subjected to the lowest common denominator of humor. I am aware that work in Hollywood now is greatly limited, and it's a "take what you can get" kind of world. I don't blame Levy for experimenting, but I can blame him for picking a film that is doomed from the start.
Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection is yet another entry in the ongoing saga of the gargantuan grandmother who talks fast and threatens violence every few minutes, Madea. The character was made famous because of Perry's many plays, before making a theatrical film in 2005 called Diary of a Mad Black Woman, based off one of those very plays. The film, seen by me not too long ago, is a very faint memory. It wasn't a wretched experience, but an inconsistent one, merging the genres of slapstick, melodrama, and spirituality in a loose and poor manner, generating nothing but a tonal cacophony of unfitting parts. Perry would then go on to do five other films focusing on this "Madea" character, along with doing other films about black families and their struggle to cope with life. I've avoided many of his films for the reason that I am not in total agreement with everything he does. He portrays women to be totally reliant on their males, and rather power-hungry and venomous when something doesn't go their way. This is greatly demonstrated in Diary of a Mad Black Women. I too believe that in order to fully enjoy his films, one must have a person like his protagonists to relate to, and I, for one, have not yet found a character I can connect with in any of his movies.
Madea's Witness Protection, his most recent picture, is an odious miscalculation in every sense. An affront to every genre of slapstick humor and rambunctious comedy that there is. Structuring itself out of corruption and heist plot odds and ends, the film centers around George Needleman (Eugene Levy) and his family, as they are forced to partake in a witness protection program and stay at good ol' Madea's house, after they discover that the company George long worked for was caught up in a Ponzi-scheme right under his nose.
Tyler Perry plays three characters in the picture; the grandmother, her brother, Joe, and Brian, who assists George in getting prepared for a possible trial. I must say that Tyler Perry seems to be the only capable actor in this picture, while everyone carries the blatantly distracting motivation of getting the money for their roles.
Another reason I'm not particularly fond of Perry films is his constant, shallow stereotyping of the black community. Madea's Witness Protection is no change of style. By incorporating a stereotypical white family, Perry has successfully generated more jokes based on race than I ever thought possible. He shorthands all of his characters, regardless of color, and gives them the shallowness neither side needs. I've said it before and I'll say it again; when it comes to black filmmakers, Perry is on the lower-end of the ladder for this exact reason.
The acting is almost unanimously wooden and careless from all its subjects. Denise Richards plays George's wife in a very vague role, poor Doris Roberts is George's mother, who is unbelievably senile, and the kids are the bratty teenage daughter and the innocent son caught in the camaraderie of their father's unfortunate mishap. And if you're going to make a film showcasing goofy white people, one must not forget to call up Tom Arnold, who is given a cameo in the picture as well.
One of the most distasteful, unfunny sequences is when the Joe character, an already unnecessary addition to a film filled with so many meaningless caricatures, is giving George an on the spot interview, asking inappropriate questions like, "what size butt he prefers?" If you giggled at that, you're obviously in the target audience for this picture.
This is my fifth one star review of the year. Not to mention, I have not given a single film that has been released this year a perfect four stars. Have I grown more cynical this year, or has the film industry hit a considerable slump? All I can say is that Madea's Witness Protection, an aggressively unfunny, miserably stale film, that is beyond ideal, sufficient length, has provided me with more hope for one of those reasons than the other.
Starring: Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Romeo Miller, Doris Roberts, and Marla Gibbs. Directed by: Tyler Perry.