TYLER PERRY COMPANY

★★★☆☆

Moments before the beginning of the press screening of “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” Tyler Perry’s voice unexpectedly filled the theater. Heads turned and then excited gasps filled the room: Perry was entering, microphone in hand, to introduce the film. “For 100 minutes, you’re going to see a stupid, silly movie,” Perry said. “This is a movie to have you be lifted and elevated for just a few minutes. I’m grateful that you’re here; enjoy yourself and laugh as hard as you can.” Perry’s words rang true: The audience’s laughter was audible for the duration of the film.

“Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” premiering Oct. 20, is the 10th film in the “Madea” film franchise, which chronicles the adventures of Mabel “Madea” Simmons, a tough elderly woman, and her family. It is a spooky comedy-thriller that gives Perry yet another opportunity to demonstrate his multi-faceted talent — he serves as writer, director and producer, in addition to playing three lead roles. The story begins when Madea’s great-niece, Tiffany, played by Diamond White, turns 18. Tiffany is invited to a fraternity’s Halloween party at Lake Derrick, a haunted campground with a murderous history, and she decides to sneak around her father so she can attend. When Tiffany’s elder relatives find out — namely Madea and Uncle Joe, played by Perry, Aunt Bam, played by Cassi Davis, and Hatti, played by Patrice Lovely — they decide to drive to Lake Derrick and rescue her. They soon encounter spooky little girls, men with chainsaws and undead phantoms, with their frightened reactions leaving the audience in uproarious laughter.

One of the film’s key strengths is its simplicity: The scenes are primarily set at Tiffany’s home, Lake Derrick and in the car with the older relatives, and there is little to no place for the audience to get lost. This approach also lends itself to the hilarity of the film; it is easier to be swept up in comedy when the underlying plot is not hard to follow. The car scenes put four of the funniest characters in a small space with one another — it is a breeding ground for comic gold. The physical motion of the car also pushes the film’s plot forward by allowing the characters to quickly move through various situations.

“Boo 2!” had few shortcomings, but their impacts were felt. The grandfather character, Uncle Joe, told jokes that at times were too raunchy or provocative. Although most of his lines elicited laughter, many incited an audience-wide cringe at the acknowledgement of the joke’s reality. He makes sexual comments to one of Tiffany’s best friends, despite the 50-year age difference and the fact that she is underage and wearing a skimpy Halloween costume. He also frequently references the power dynamic between men and women and even refers to women as “hoes” and “prey.”

Other aspects of the film felt unrealistic, including the Halloween party. The fraternity boys seem to have an unrealistically narrow-sighted focus on Tiffany and her friend, who are both high schoolers. An additional frustration of the film was the lack of character development in Tiffany. Throughout the movie, she is rude and ungrateful toward her father, who is clearly working hard to make her happy, making it difficult for audiences to sympathize with her.

But ultimately, the strengths of “Boo 2!” overshadowed its weaknesses. The humor was constant without being repetitive and was both verbal and physical — just a facial expression or a dance move could cause the audience to erupt in laughter. The group of older family members were distinct, comical and a rare demonstration of the ways in which older people can be funny without being the butt of the joke.

Ultimately, “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” is a great pick when in need of easy, continuous hilarity. It is a clear demonstration of Perry’s immense talent and an ode to the uplifting nature of a good laugh, even, or perhaps especially, when there is a little bit of fear packed in.

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