Tyler Perry’s cantankerous matriarch, Madea, continues to roll over anybody who crosses her path in the actor-director’s latest turn in elderly drag. But as in the franchise’s earlier films, the sharp-tongued senior serves as mere comedic fodder for the Christian-fable-like plot.
Straitlaced, good-guy public defender Joshua (Luke) runs into his old childhood friend Candace (The Cosby Show’s Knight Pulliam)—now a drug-addicted prostitute who’s in his court caseload. Linda (Overman), Joshua’s fiance and fellow legal eagle, is the quintessential Perry villain: a cutthroat princess in a power suit, undermining her man’s efforts to rehabilitate Candace by ensuring she earns a harsher jail sentence. Meanwhile, the muumuu-clad Madea wreaks havoc in a Kmart parking lot and is tackled by the Atlanta SWAT team. The two new inmates quickly become besties when Madea guards the youngest Huxtable from the aggressive advances of a fellow prisoner.
The predictable, even absurd twists that the movie takes to reach its happily-ever-after conclusion are amusing, as are the smart-ass quips and disposition of Perry’s popular alter ego. The film is unabashedly escapist entertainment, and its namesake is none the wiser nor repentant by the end of it. For that matter, neither are we.--Monika Fabian