Made with a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner cookie cutter, the latest vehicle for Tyler Perry’s loudmouthed alter ego is an anti-Christmas movie. Blanketed in stereotypes, schizophrenic in its approach to comedy, and a crass weapon in the crusade against the War on Christmas, the yuletide-themed Madea avoids pushing buttons in hopes of meeting the requirements for annual replay on cable.
Living in a struggling Alabama farming community, Lacey (Tika Sumpter) is a teacher who can’t make the world right. Her star-student-with-the-voice-of-an-angel has a deadbeat dad (Chad Michael Murray), she’s taking heat for promising to secularize the school play for corporate donations, and thanks to a surprise holiday visit, her mother (Anna Maria Horsford) is about to find out that she’s married to a white guy. Perry has bite when donning the old lady garb—snappy in the Seth Rogen mode—but A Madea Christmas doesn’t even serve its main attraction (not even with the help of Larry the Cable Guy). The film is a string of dawdling sitcom scenarios and saccharine messages, cobbled together with star wipes pulled straight out of a Walmart commercial.