Movie Review: Madea’s Witness Protection; or, Tyler Perry’s Diminishing Returns

Aside from that episode of The Simpsons where the family has to go into hiding with assumed identities after Sideshow Bob threatens to kill Bart, comedy still hasn’t quite cracked the code on witness protection, despite many tries. (My Blue Heaven, written by the late Nora Ephron, came close, while the Larry the Cable Guy opus Witless Protection and the Hugh Grant travesty Did You Hear about the Morgans?, uh, didn’t.)

It would be a fool’s errand to think Tyler Perry might have been the one to finally pull it off. But still, Madea’s Witness Protection holds some initial promise, what with Eugene Levy playing a disingenuous Wall Street type who becomes the fall guy for his company’s just-exposed Ponzi scheme and has to go South with his beautifully dysfunctional family. Of course, Levy & Co. have to live with the grotesque Madea (Perry, cross-dressing as usual in the role that’s made him a gazillionaire), and one hopes, for a brief instant, that in imagining this culture clash Perry might be trying to break out of his comfort zone, maybe even taking on some of the assumptions made about his comedy — that it appeals mainly to African-American audiences, that its vulgar theatricality is an acquired taste, etc. Read More...


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