After making more than a dozen on-screen appearances as Madea, writer-director Tyler Perry certainly has his formula perfected. Like previous outings, "Boo! A Madea Halloween" won't win over many critics with its eye-roll-inducing one-liners and over-the-top performances, but audiences will continue to flock to any film with the beloved character in its title.
The plot finds pushover dad Brian (Perry) asking his Aunt Madea to watch his 17-year-old daughter Tiffany (Diamond White) on Halloween night. Madea is charged with keeping her grandniece from going to a nearby frat party, enlisting the help of Uncle Joe (Perry again), Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and Hattie (Patrice Lovely). But the cantankerous foursome isn't just fighting rebellious teens; it's also battling creepy clowns, lumbering zombies and more.
In addition to Perry regulars, the movie is stuffed with YouTube stars, including Yousef Erakat, Liza Koshy, Kian Lawley, Jc Caylen and Mike Tornabene. It's a smart move from the filmmaker to bring in new audiences. We're not going to pretend that "Boo! A Madea Halloween" wasn't created largely to make money, though Perry continues to clearly enjoy playing the title role.
In its final moments, "Boo! A Madea Halloween" delivers a moral with after-school-special levels of subtlety. A jolting switch from oft-mean-spirited humor to a message movie, this comedy is unlikely to win over any new fans, but the devoted will find comfort in the familiarity.
'Boo! A Madea Halloween'
MPAA rating: PG-13, for drug use and references, suggestive content, language, some horror images and thematic material
Running time: 103 minutes
In general release.