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MOVIE REVIEW: Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection

A silly adventure into Madea's signature style of southern hospitality and heavy-handed advice, all wrapped up in an odd-couple premise of different races, classes, and generations.

Speak Yer Damn Mind!

RATED: ★ ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5 buckets | WORTH: Matinee or DVD
 

Rated: PG-13  Brief drug references and some crude sexual remarks.

Release Date: June 29, 2012
Runtime:  1 hour 54 minutes

Director: Tyler Perry
Writers: Tyler Perry
Cast:  Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Doris Roberts, Denise Richards, Romeo, Tom Arnold, John Amos, Maria Gibbs, Danielle Campbell

SYNOPSIS: When a Wall Street investment banker is set up as the fall guy when his company is found out to be running a mob-backed Ponzi scheme, he and his family are put into witness protection under the roof of a reluctant Madea.

REVIEW: Media mogul Tyler Perry (House of PayneI Can Do Bad All By Myself) comes at us with another entry in the Aunt Madea saga. The writer/director/actor's creation has become a staple in the Perry stable, amusing audiences and giving the a piece of her outspoken mind.George Needleman (Eugene Levy, American Reunion) lives the wealthy lifestyle with his second wife Kate (Denise Richards, Scary Movie 3), his daughter from his first marriage Cindy (Danielle Campbell, Prom), his son with Kate Howie (Devan Leos), and his mother Barbara (Doris Roberts, Aliens in the Attic). The acting CFO of a investment fund with various charities as client investors, George goes into the office one Saturday to discover his fellow employees shredding documents and his boss Walter (Tom Arnold, Hit and Run) letting him know that the government is looking into George's fund as a Ponzi scheme, and that George is going to take the fall and have to answer to both prosecution and to the mob that he unwittingly laundered money for. Taken into custody by prosecutor Brian (Tyler Perry, Good Deeds), George pleads his innocence and his ignorance. Looking to take down Walter and the mob, Brian takes George and his family out of the circulation before the trial by putting them in the care of his Aunt Madea (Tyler Perry) and his father Joe (Tyler Perry). In addition to dealing with George and trying to find a way to bring George's boss and a crime family to justice, Brian finds that local former thug Jake (Romeo, Jumping the Broom) put his father and Pastor Nelson's (John Amos, Coming to America) church mortgage into the same fund that is now empty. 

Tyler Perry came up with the idea of Madea's Witness Protection when dining with a friend who said a worse punishment than prison for Bernie Madoff would have been living with Aunt Madea. That anecdote sparked Perry to write 30 pages and become the basis of what ended up on film. Perry himself said that you should take the movie for what it is - a lighthearted film that will hopefully make you laugh throughout. Did he succeed?As a Madea newbie, I didn't know what to expect from Madea other than what I had seen from the trailers on television. Isn't Tyler Perry's creation just a variation of Martin Lawrence's Big Momma or Eddie Murphy's Clump family? No. I realize now that Madea and her brother Joe bring a very different element to screen. They may both be played by Perry, but there is real heart behind the pad and prosthetics. They may be characters, but they are not caricatures. Madea's disbelief that George's daughter speaks and acts toward to her step-mother in the disrespectful manner that she does leaves Madea both speechless and fuming - to comic effect.

The story is a little soft. The Malone mob family never makes a physical appearance, losing an opportunity for more than just family angst. And nosy neighbor Hattie (Maria Gibbs, The Jeffersons) is completely underutilized, either due to editing or because of little to do. But what the story lacks in blockbuster subplots it makes up with laughs and heart. When Madea needs to take a trip on an airplane, her antics through the lines at NSA security is a non-stop side-splitting adventure. Eugene Levy is always fun to watch, and Romeo plays both hilarious in-your-face hijinks and solemn low-key drama where necessary. And when laughster didn't result in tears, Madea's silver fox wisdom makes George realize that his ignorance at work extended further than just at the threshold of the investment bank office doors.

Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection is a silly adventure into Madea's signature style of southern hospitality and heavy-handed advice, all wrapped up in an odd-couple premise of different races, classes, and generations. If you are looking for laughs and a good time in the spirit of past Tyler Perry Madea flicks, Witness Protection will not disappoint.

Check out all of the most recent movie reviews @ www.HotButterReviews.com.

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