Boo 2: A Madea Halloween (2017)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry
Boo 2 was released the very next Halloween after the previous entry. It makes sense from a money perspective; the first film made $54.8 million. Boo 2 would not be as financially successful, making around $20 million when it finally left theaters. There’s very little to be found about the production of these movies because they are basically glorified sitcoms or YouTuber movies. That’s one element I didn’t discuss in my previous review, but for the Boo films, Perry has chosen to employ several YouTube celebrities. I guess these people are not members of SAG-AFTRA, and thus he can violate labor laws for actors by having them in prominent roles in his movies. Perry is on record for firing four writers who attempted to unionize in the late 2000s, and there was controversy around his decision to hire five non-union actors for his most recent production.
It’s one year later after the events of Boo 2. This time Tiffany (Diamond White), the sexualized minor of the previous picture, is now 18 and plans to return to the frat house to fuck some dudes? There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want to do. It’s just this film engages with young women and their sexuality in ways that defy reason & logic. There’s also the added conflict of Tiffany’s mom refusing to respect her ex-husband Brian’s (Perry) wishes. Madea, Joe, Aunt Bam, and Hattie show up to sit in that same living room from the previous film and lambast Brian about what a pussy he is. Eventually, we see them sitting in a car as they drive to the lake to intercept Tiffany and her whorish ways.
So many of the conflicts in this movie consist of people repeating things back to each other about minor problems to drag out the runtime. Then there are the scenes of Tiffany, her friends, and the YouTube frat boys sitting around a campfire at the lake as sexual innuendo flows. There’s also a subplot of an overzealous woman who claims one of the frat dudes is her boyfriend, but he’s not. Isn’t her unrealistic mental illness hilarious, folks? On top of this, they introduce literal supernatural entities in the form of a pair of dead murderous brothers and their daughters, I think? There’s no effort to be consistent in the type of universe these characters inhabit. It’s apparently a world of American Christian moralizing but also Ring-style creepy girls and chainsaw-wielding maniacs?
The scenes without Madea have never been funny in these movies. They are the moments we endure to get to Madea, who might do something baseline funny. In this film, not even Madea can pull her weight, and that feels like a choice by Perry. In the last review, I mentioned instances where Perry voiced his hatred of the character, which feels ramped up here. There’s a recurring element where Joe will insult Madea to her face, often calling her “dude” or “man,” and it is done with such scorn in his voice. Madea never responds to these comments, almost as if she can’t hear them, as if they aren’t happening within the fiction of the film’s narrative but are meta-commentary coming straight from Perry’s mouth through Joe. There’s so much of this that characters who can be a bit funny, if still obnoxious, like Aunt Bam and Hattie, are just drowned out in the film.
I also noticed an absurd amount of post-production dubbing, particularly with Joe and Madea. I searched online for some explanation, and apparently, the first cut of the picture earned an R-rating. Perry said it was mainly because of the Joe character that Perry just sort of let it flow on set when he was made up as the angry elder. This is so strange as the movie suddenly decides to return to Perry’s patriarchal admonishments by having the main female characters in this morality tale telling Brian they are so ashamed for having lied to him and will do as he says from here on.
It’s no surprise; the further Perry gets into this franchise, the more incoherent the ideology he presents has become. The filmmaker has created his own personal Hell, stuck playing a character he wants to kill but addicted to the wealth that playing her has provided him. The only way he has to cope is to verbally abuse Madea through Joe, constantly hating her and making her a passive recipient of his grumblings and venom. When all of this is coupled with Perry’s own story of abuse by his father and a friend’s mother, it presents a very distressing picture. I don’t think anyone could walk away from this film and think Perry is in a healthy place about his abuse; in fact, watching this film and the next one we’ll review left me feeling worried for the man.