Friday, February 22, 2013
MADEA GOES TO JAIL (2009)
Written & Directed By: Tyler Perry
Cinematography By: Alexander Gruszynski
Editor: Maysie Hoy
Cast: Tyler Perry, Derek Luke, Keisha Knight Pulliam, David Mann, Pamela J. Mann, Ronreaco Lee, Ion Overman, Vanessa Ferlito, Viola Davis, Sofia Vegara
My first Tyler Perry Movie Review
Mischievous grandma Madea lands in jail, where she meets a variety of mixed-up characters.
The reason this one fails is that it doesn’t feel like Mr. Perry’s heart was in this film so much as it seems more like he wrote this as a crowd pleaser a money maker for general audiences which is what most of his films usually are.
The film feels like it has no real heart. It’s all artifice sure it has plenty of funny scenes, but the dramatic ones feel over the top and artificial. It also has a interesting color scheme. All of the Dark skinned characters are good and the light skins tend to be evil. He also goes overboard with one character who begins unsympathetic then just makes the character evil incarnate.
The film still dispenses good homespun wisdom, but the main story seems thrown together. It also features the most self reflective junkies I have seen on screen with perfect teeth. Keisha Night Pulliam is the junkie in question and she’s not bad but not quite good either. Her character starts arguments and fights really for no good reasons. In half her scenes she seems to be putting on a performance.
Derek Luke is a good actor seems lost in his role. Not really given a great character to play as the noble lead. He does what he can with the role.
There seems to be a role here not necessarily needed but written for Sofia Vergara who I guess Tyler Perry enjoyed working with on the film MEET THE BROWNS because not only is her role not necessary it’s distracting from the story. Thankfully it is small.
It’s nice to see the filmmakers give work to talented actresses like Viola Davis and better roles then the ones they have here. I have been praising the actor RonReaco Lee since THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING and through his TV work he does dynamite work here. Viola Davis seems to be headed to the Alfre Woodard syndrome of being a great actress, but only getting a really good role to show it every 3 years. After all they are both tony winners.
So while this film is enjoyable. It doesn’t feel as genuine as his other movies with sloppy editing. A really bad soundtrack. Which is usually a hallmark of his films. They all usually have great soundtracks like all of his films. As always This is a message movie he seems to add messages to each story amongst laughs. Though while this movie could have played it as a straight drama Mr. Perry seems afraid to tell a simple story so he shoehorns his Mascot like Character of Madea into the film to add comic relief where as her scenes seem like they come from a different movie. Later on in the film both stories mix and match so that it feels necessary though it really isn’t.