Oh. My God. YOU GUYS. As you might know, I have seen every single Tyler Perry film, including his filmed stage plays. So I can say on good authority that A Madea Christmas is awesome in that it is so incredibly stupid and awful in all the ways a Tyler Perry (especially a Madea) movie should be.
I am convinced that Tyler Perry wanted this to be his first 3D movie and then abandoned that idea after filming the opening credits. This is because the credits are in this weird 3D that we see as we go through a department store. It’s hard to describe, but you know when you rent a movie that was 3D in theaters and you can suddenly see all the choices that were made that were clearly only made because the movie is supposed to be 3D? That’s what the opening credits are like. The movie is also filled with these amazing 3D PowerPoint-esque side swipes that are Christmas-themed (my favorite was the spinning Christmas tree). These don’t show up in any kind of order that I could tell, which made them all the more pointless.
The first scene of A Madea Christmas is fantastic in that it is unlike the rest of the movie. In a bold move, Tyler Perry decided not to have any of the old Madea standby characters (like Joe and Cora) or even Madea’s house in this movie. Instead, it opens with Madea getting a job as a greeter at a department store, the same one that her friend Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) works at. Madea is later described as Eileen’s daughter’s great aunt, but I don’t think they ever describe her as Eileen’s aunt, so in classic Tyler Perry style, the family’s relationship to Madea makes no sense and doesn’t matter. Anyway, Eileen, a nice older lady, finds out on December 20 that her daughter, Lacey (Tika Sumpter) will be staying in Alabama and not coming home to Atlanta for Christmas. So, at this point, Lacey is the asshole, because who tells their mom (who lives far away) 5 days before Christmas that they’re not coming? I mean, obviously this happens, but Lacey was obviously just putting off telling her mom that she wouldn’t be coming. At this point, we also meet Conner, who is clearly in a relationship with Lacey, although Lacey tells her mom that Conner is a “farmhand.” See, Lacey lives on a farm and also works as a teacher in a town in Alabama that must have a population of about 500 considering the school is literally a house. So Lacey lives on a farm and is a teacher, but is always decked out in the most stylish, Anthropologie-ish clothes ever.
Anyway, Eileen decides to surprise Lacey by visiting her on Christmas instead. She wants Madea to drive her, but Madea’s car is too old, so Madea tells her that if Eileen finds a ride, she’ll just go along with her. Why? No one knows. In the meantime, we find out that the town Lacey is in is freaking out because they don’t have enough money for their annual Christmas jubilee, which apparently somehow garners enough revenue for the town to last the whole year? How in the hell does that work? To save the day, Lacey calls up her high school boyfriend, Oliver (JR Lemon), who has a mysterious job as some kind of broker for companies who want to donate money. I’m sure his job exists, but Tyler Perry obviously had no idea what this job was supposed to be because it didn’t make any sense. Oliver has a client that wants to look good and thinks that they’ll be perfect and brokers a deal for this company to donate $100,000 to the town for their Christmas thing as well as for the school.
Somehow Eileen and Madea find out Oliver is driving to Lacey’s town, so they hitch a ride with him. On the way, Madea has to stop to use the bathroom, so they ask an old man sitting in front of a store for directions and where a bathroom is. He casually points Madea toward a building across the street, which she goes to and opens the door . . . TO FIND A KKK MEETING UNDERWAY! WHAAAAAT! Does that happen? Are KKK meetings held in random buildings in the middle of the day?
Once Eileen, Madea, and Oliver arrive at Lacey’s house, we see just how misleading the first scene was because Eileen pretty much immediately turns into a terrible, terrible person. She treats Conner like shit just because she thinks he works for Lacey. She tells Oliver that Lacey is still in love with him. Etc. Lacey then takes Oliver and Madea to school with her so Madea can watch Lacey’s class while Oliver presents the mayor with the contract. See, the mayor might live in the principal’s office. He’s always there, using it as his office and this is never explained. The mayor gives the contract to a lawyer, who doesn’t read it and hands it back to the mayor, who also signs it without reading it and Oliver hands him a check for $100,000. Meanwhile, Madea tries to spread some wisdom to Lacey’s class, but ends up tying a girl up on the giant cross that’s in front of the classroom with Christmas lights instead. So, basically, Madea non-fatally crucifies a young girl. Okay!
After Oliver hands over the check, he makes a move on Lacey and kisses her. She’s gone through graduate school, so she’s at least in her mid-twenties. If I randomly saw my high school boyfriend again and he kissed me because my mom told him that I wanted to get back together with him . . . I mean this is just so far beyond comprehension that I don’t know what to say about it.
Back at home, Conner’s parents, Buddy (Larry the Cable Guy) and Kim (Kathy Najimy, straight up using her Peggy Hill voice) show up for Christmas. Buddy casually mentions that they were fine with Lacey and Conner eloping. Wait. WHAT?!? Lacey and Conner are married? And Lacey’s mother didn’t even know Conner existed?? And now that she does, she still just thinks he’s a farmhand and not her son-in-law??? What???? Lacey tells her in-laws that she still hasn’t told her mother about her marriage because Conner is white and Eileen will drop dead because she’s had heart attacks. Soooo Buddy and Kim decide to go along with it.
Craziness ensues, including, but not limited to: Eileen, who is older and apparently has a heart condition, chopping down a tree in Lacey’s backyard for a Christmas tree . . . even though it had a yellow ribbon around it . . . which, come to find out, was planted in memorial for Kim’s father; Eileen walks in on Buddy and Kim in bed, sees Buddy under a sheet and immediately thinks he’s in the KKK; Madea discovers that Conner, who studied agriculture in college and is apparently working on a type of corn that needs less water to grow (?), doesn’t know the difference between a cow and a bull because he’s tried to milk a bull.
Everything comes to a head when the town suddenly reads the contract and realizes that A.) The company that gave them the $100,000 is also the company responsible for building a dam that apparently ruined the town’s economy and B.) The Christmas jubilee has to be the “holiday” jubilee with no nativity and no mention of Christianity at all. The town freaks out at Lacey for this . . . even though it wasn’t her job to read the contract. She’s not the one who signed a huge contract without reading it! What the fuck?? Then Chad Michael Murray, in another beautiful Christmas role, as Tanner, suggests to the mayor that maybe Lacey should be fired. So the mayor fires Lacey. Even though Lacey does not work for him. Um, what? If the mayor of Austin told me he was firing me . . . well, I wouldn’t give a shit, because he’s not my boss! The principal doesn’t say anything against this though, so Lacey is just straight up fired.
When she gets home, Madea makes her tell Eileen the truth about her relationship with Conner, because everyone listens to Madea. Then the BOMB gets dropped on us that Eileen hates white people because her husband/Lacey’s father was murdered by a white man. Madea then turns around and drops a DOUBLE BOMB on us when she tells us that Eileen actually hates white people because her husband/Lacey’s father ran off with a white woman. Oh, and Madea also drops the TRIPLE BOMB that Eileen has zero heart problems, and when Eileen told Lacey she had a heart attack, it was actually gas. Sooooo Eileen has lied and manipulated Lacey her whole life and Lacey has just discovered that her previously-thought-to-be-murdered father is actually alive. Okay!
Luckily, all of that is forgiven when Eileen, trying to run away from her daughter because she is a giant baby, comes across Tanner in his overturned truck and pulls him out Crash style before the truck blows up. Conner shows up and punches him and brings Eileen home. AND EVERYONE FORGIVES EACH OTHER. Eileen forgives Lacey for lying about BEING MARRIED. Lacey forgives Eileen for lying about HER FATHER BEING MURDERED. Lacey forgives Tanner for GETTING HER FIRED. Uhhhh . . .
Cut to the Christmas jubilee! Yeah, see, that whole problem got solved because the town just decided to ignore the contract and have the jubilee be Christmas-themed, nativity and all! And then Lacey doubly makes up for it by announcing to the crowd that the construction company who sponsored them will somehow make the dam they built give the town more water AND $100,000 a year for the next four years for her school! Yay! EXCEPT SHE IS MAKING ALL OF THIS UP. Does Tyler Perry think this is how businesses work? The vaguely Middle Eastern, vaguely Jew-y construction company guy leaves all huffy, and Lacey is proud of herself for making them give the town all that money. Except that will not happen, because this company is not going to honor an oral contract that they didn’t agree to that will make them responsible for upwards of $400,000.
THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So. What gets solved? Everything! How? By doing nothing! This movie is so incredible because it lacks the usual Tyler Perry themes of rape/abuse/AIDS but is overrun with the usual Tyler Perry theme of Tyler Perry not understanding how the world or life works. Everything works out because this town was brave enough to not be victims of the WAR ON CHRISTMAS. They’re going to have their Christmas jubilee
Oh my god. Out of context (meaning if you haven’t seen most or all of Tyler Perry’s movies), this movie would be so incredibly bad that it would blow your mind. In context, however, this movie is SO AMAZING because it’s the epitome of Tyler Perry being a fucking moron and his movies making absolutely no sense. But you know what really sold me on A Madea Christmas? Larry the Cable guy, a spokesman who does commercials for Prilosec OTC, plugs Prilosec OTC in the middle of the movie. Using the full brand name. Out of nowhere.
Madea Goes To Christmas [editor’s note: Madea Goes to Christmas was our own personal title for this movie] might be my favorite TP comedy to date. For Colored Girls is my favorite drama. I think his comedies tend to be a little more boring than his serious movies, but this film is so crazy and so dumb, it’s hard not to love. Also, there was no rape or AIDS so it was a nice change.
This movie has Larry the Cable Guy telling you to use Prilosec OTC, an old mother who can chop down trees and pull men out of cars, and a scientist who doesn’t know the different between utters and testicles. What is a constant with TP’s films is how he never really thinks anything through. Absolutely nothing. This is mostly demonstrated in the end of this film.
This movie is about a small town, who is trying to have a Christmas Jubilee. They don’t have any money though so they sign a contact with some middle man company with a giant corporation to fund it. Mind you, at this point the brokers do not know that the company is going to accept their offer and the townsfolk have no idea who the company is. The only thing the town does is, the mayor gets some guy named Walter(?) to read the contract to see if it’s okay. So the town gets the funding for the party! But before the event two things go awry. One is that the giant company that is funding the event is the exact same company that put most of the town out of jobs!!! We only find that out in this scene. Also the company does not want this CHRISTMAS Jubilee to have anything to do with Christmas or Religion. They just want it to be a Holiday event, which the town is up in arms about. Come the day of the Jubilee! Which just shows up, none of our main characters put in any work to set this up, it pretty much just appears. Haha so at the Christmas Jubilee no one followed the rules of no Christmas or Religious decorations. They still have the nativity scene up and what not. They are told to take all of that down before the event can continue but first a children’s choir performs, boring, and then the main lady, who is a terrible actress and you can never tell what her emotions are, jumps on the stage and just starts lying. She talks about how the giant corporation is good with all the religion, she talks about how the giant corporation is going to give the town/school more money, and that the company is going to rehire people (or turn around whatever terrible thing they did). THE END.
IT ENDS WITH A LADY JUST TELLING THE TOWN A GIANT LIE!!!! Of course none of this stuff is going to happen? Why would it? TP is notorious for having no clue what happens in the real world but this is just getting crazy. Now, we watched one of his plays recently and that ended with Madea going from one room of a house to another solving everyone’s problems. That even makes more sense than this. This is a giant mess that needs to be watched by all. Elizabeth and I already talked about it and I think this is going to be our annual Christmas movie.
It’s pretty fantastic and a lot of fun to watch!