Yep, Tiffany sure learned a valuable lesson.
Last All Hallow's Eve, (as painstakingly chronicled in the original Boo! A Madea Halloween), the 17-year-old lied to her father, snuck out of her house and corralled a few of her friends to party at a local fraternity.
Alas, the evening did not end well: She was scared witless, tricked into believing one of her best friends was killed and nearly kicked out of her house. After the physical, emotional and moral horror of that night, Tiffany promised her pops, Brian, that she'd be a nice, respectful daughter from now on. She pinkie swore that she'd never make such a series of dumb, obnoxious mistakes again.
And she doesn't. Technically.
Tiffany doesn't need to sneak out of her dad's house this year, given the fact that Brian and her mother have recently divorced. Why, she'll just have a sleepover at Mom's house, eliminating the necessity to sneak anywhere. She won't need to lie to her dad, either. She'll just omit one teensy-weensy fact: that her mom, Debrah, plans to let Tiffany and her friends go to an all-night Halloween party around, say, 12:01 a.m. And why not? Tiffany and her friends are 18 now! Mature adults! What could go wrong?
And they certainly won't be going back to that frat house for the party. No way, buster. Everyone got way too familiar with fabricated death, not to mention the inside of real jail cells, to make that mistake again. No, this time, the frat plans to hold the party at Derrick Lake—where 14 teens were mysteriously killed, and the murderers were never caught!
Yes indeedy, I'm glad Tiffany's learned her lesson, aren't you?
Alas (for Tiffany, at any rate), Madea overhears her talking about her Halloween plans and spills the beans—or, rather, the candy corn—to Brian. But Brian, rather oddly, flings his hands up in disgust and says his hands are tied: Tiffany can do what she wants and go where she'd like.
But Madea and her cadre of crotchety comrades—brother Joe, Hattie and Aunt Bam—aren't about to let Brian's decision stand. So they pile into Madea's ancient Cadillac, determined to save Tiffany from both spectral serial killers and herself.
Apparently, they didn't learn much from last Halloween, either.
Brian means well, though at times he seems to be fighting a losing battle to instill a little maturity into his beautiful, headstrong daughter.
On Tiffany's birthday, instead of giving her a much-wished-for car, he gives her a pair of headphones—telling Tiff that she's not responsible enough yet for her own set of wheels. (The lesson is undercut when his ex-wife buys Tiffany a car instead.) But Tiffany's mom, Debrah, may also have a point when she tells Brian that it's important to give Tiffany a little space to make some mistakes: Yes, she's far too permissive in Boo 2!, but she does understand that 18-year-old girls may be a little too old for Brian's birthday-party petting zoos.
Gabriella, Tiffany's lone responsible friend, tries to dissuade Tiffany from attending the party. And while Tiffany eventually twists Gabriella's arm to go, she does her best (futilely) to restrain Tiffany's worst instincts.
Once partygoers begin disappearing mysteriously—leaving behind, it would seem, a great deal of blood at times—both Gabriella and Tiffany express a desire to help each other, rather than skedaddling to save their own skins.
When a reveller suggests that Gabriella do a few alcoholic shots, Gabriella refuses, saying that she's Christian. And when that person reminds Gabriella that Jesus turned water into wine, Gabriella tells the guy to leave Jesus out of the argument.
When Brian decides to let Tiffany and her friends attend the party, he says that he'll just pray that she stays safe. (Joe, Brian's father with a questionable past, says that's the wrong attitude: When he was a pimp, he recalls, it was his "employees" who prayed at the sight of him.)
As Madea flees from a man who walks out of the lake, she sprints away, repeating "Help me, Jesus!" over and over. Tiffany and Gabriella attend St. Mary's Preparatory School.
Tiffany doesn't just want to drink and dance at the party: She wants to—ahem—connect with Jonathan, the well-built head of the fraternity. So she encourages Gabriella to pair up with another frat member so that she and Jonathan can be alone. "Don't wait up," Tiffany says. When Tiff and Jonathan find their own tent, she tells him, "You should take your clothes off." (He begins to undress, but only removes his shirt.) Leah, another friend of Tiffany's, connects with a frat guy named Horse: They leave together, ostensibly to get ice and, apparently, to make out as well. But Horse is literally dragged away before any hanky-panky can begin. (Gabriella, for her part, rebuffs the many sexual advances made towards her.)
Joe hits on Leah even when she tells him that she's underage. He also coarsely brags about the size of his genitals. He tries to put the moves on other women, too, and it's crudely suggested that he had sexual relations with Hattie once. He repeatedly references his days as a pimp, and he constantly refers to his old "employees" as "hoes." Madea also recalls her own past as a prostitute, bragging how hard she had to work to earn money for her first car.
There's a reference to a male deer that might be "transitioning." The legendary killers at Derrick Lake supposedly caught teens having sex in cars and "picked them off, one by one." Several Halloween outfits are quite tight and skimpy. Partiers dance suggestively.
Crude double entendres reference various body parts. Joe constantly calls Madea a man (a bit of a winking gag, given that Madea is famously played by Tyler Perry). Jonathan sends Tiffany a shirtless selfie of himself that, he says, he's only sent to two other girls; he also says it would be suitable as her phone's wallpaper. Someone suggests that a woman's car is an indication of how good she is in bed.
Apparent spectral killers chase people with chainsaws. Creepy girls stalk the lake site, as well—their black, stringy hair covering faces covered with serious cuts and gouges. Two people get dragged along the ground. A truck bed is found covered in blood.
Hattie's knee goes out, and she tumbles to the ground. Madea and her cohorts regularly threaten violence. We hear about Tiffany's unsafe, perhaps life-threatening, driving habits. Alcoholic shots are referred to as "Abe Lincolns," because he took a shot to the head.
Crude or Profane Language
Three s-words. One abbreviated f-word. God's name is misused at least eight times. A handful of other partly-uttered words of the same ilk. We also hear more than 30 uses of "a--," about 50 of "d--n" and 80 of "h---," along with more sporadic uses of "b--ch," "p-ss" and the n-word.
And it could've been worse. Plenty of scenes include "cleaner" dialogue that was apparently dubbed in, with s-words and "d--n" scrubbed for (slightly) more family-friendly alternatives.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Joe is perpetually stoned. He talks about marijuana constantly, though he also insists that he's not high enough to deal with the night's stranger elements. We see him light up joints twice, and he only agrees to try to save Tiffany when he's told that the party will probably feature lots of drugs. Dozens of partygoers eventually get arrested for drug possession.
People drink a lot at the soiree. Many imbibe beer from bottles and unnamed beverages from plastic cups. And when someone asks an obviously impaired Leah how much she's had to drink, Leah insists, "Not enough."
Other Negative Elements
Hattie and Aunt Bam both talk, excessively, about their need to urinate (using much cruder language than that, naturally). We hear a great deal about Hattie's foul breath—with some speculating that her foul breath must emanate from deep in her bowels. Brian does "the fire hydrant" dance, where he lifts his leg like a dog as if to urinate on it. (Another of his dance moves is dubbed "the toilet seat.") Brian says that his daughter "lies all the time."
Tyler Perry's movies—particularly those involving Madea—have always been a mixed bag. Sure, Madea and her posse of problematic senior citizens have always wallowed in foul waters, from Joe's sexual asides to Madea's predilection for violence to the machine-gun profanity that discharges from everyone's mouths.
In the past, those problems have been at least partially counterbalanced by the good messages Perry often brings to the table: the importance of rules and respect. The need for tough love. A real affection for, and appreciation of, the role of faith. Perry's movies tend to be like bags of Halloween (or harvest festival) candy: Sure, it might not be all that healthy, but it sure was fun to get. And there's bound to be a toothbrush or a Bible verse stuffed in there somewhere in there, right?
But in Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, Perry's trick-or-treat bag isn't nearly as mixed. And that's to the movie's—and our—detriment.
We find few messages about love and responsibility this time 'round. (And the fact that lessons from the previous movie obviously didn't take make it even more discouraging.) Nor are there many spiritual messages here, either.
So where does that leave us? Just the filth, ma'am, just the filth—so much so that Boo 2 nearly landed an R-rating from the MPAA. Perry had to go back after the film was initially submitted and cut some foul language to quell the rating-board's ire. "They only give you so many curse words if you are going to stay PG-13," he said.
But Perry still kept plenty of profanity, along with other content, too. And I think it's telling that a movie without any explicit sex or nudity, without much blood or any gore, was still almost branded with an R-rating. Even though Perry's Madea films have earned a reputation as being relatively "family friendly," this iteration is far from it. Indeed, the family sitting in front of me in the theater actually walked out—shortly after Joe talked about a male deer "transitioning," but shortly before he talked extensively about his sexual prowess and endowment.
Even setting aside these content concerns for just a moment, Boo 2 seems more like a cash grab than an actual movie with an actual story. It's a surprisingly cynical effort by Perry to capitalize on the success of Madea's original Halloween movie (which stands as Perry's second-highest-grossing film) without putting the work in to make it, y'know, good. Or, good by Perry's standards.
I like Perry's heart. I sometimes like his movies. But Boo 2 leaves me feeling just like I do after eating too much Halloween candy: a little sick.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Tyler Perry as Madea/Joe/Brian; Cassi Davis as Aunt Bam; Patrice Lovely as Hattie; Diamond White as Tiffany; Inanna Sarkis as Gabriella; Lexy Panterra as Leah; Taja V. Simpson as Debrah; Yousef Erakat as Jonathan; Mike Tornabene as Dino; Brock O'Hurn as Horse; Tito Ortiz as Victor
Tyler Perry ( )
October 20, 2017
January 30, 2018