I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Madea's Big Happy Family (2011)

Shirley (Loretta Devine) gets some bad news from Dr. Evans (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez):  her cancer has returned, and there's not much that can be done to treat it this time.  Shirley, with the help of her Christian faith, accepts the news.  She wants to gather her family to tell them so they can prepare for what's coming.  Unfortunately, her family is so caught up in their own dramas that they haven't noticed that Shirley's not feeling well.  Her upscale daughter Kimberly (Shannon Kane) constantly battles with her husband Calvin (Isaiah Mustafa); her son Byron (Shad "Bow Wow" Moss), an ex-con, is having hard times with his baby's mama, Sabrina (Teyana Taylor) and his current gold digging girlfriend Renee (Lauren Louden); and Tammy (Natalie Desselle Reid), downgrades her husband Harold (Rodney Perry), while allowing their two sons to be disrespectful brats.  Marijuana lovin' Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) suggests that Madea (Tyler Perry) help Shirley -- who's Madea's niece -- get her family straight. 

There are the usual plot devices found in most of the Madea films: a prodigal son or daughter who has to be shown the right way, family members who need to get secrets out in the open to heal, Cora (Tamela J. Mann) suffering through the foolishness of her dad Mr. Brown (David Mann), plus Madea and Uncle Joe's (both played by Perry) usual putdowns of others.  In fact, the Aunt Bam character is a match for Madea, stealing  most of the scenes she appears in.  But unlike Madea Goes To Jail, this film does a better job of mixing the serious issues with the jokes.  The Christian messages and viewpoint are here, too, but unlike some films that are heavy-handed with that (Fireproof, anyone?), they are gently presented. 

Shad "Bow Wow" Moss is better known as a rapper.  Natalie Desselle Reid appeared in the movie B.A.P.S. (1997) alongside Halle Berry.  Isaiah Mustafa appeared as the shirtless guy in a series of popular commercials for Old Spice.  The Manns and Cassi Davis are veterans of Mr. Perry's stage plays.  Rodney Perry is Monique's sidekick on her nightly talk show.  Daytime talk show host Maury Povich has a cameo.

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