Part of being a friend is being a sounding board for them. I have learned that it is best to offer advice when asked, but to never tell a friend what they should do. In fact, the word “should” is something I have strived to eliminate from my vocabulary. Besides offering help when I am asked, I have depended on the advice from friends to provide me a clearer picture to a variety of dilemmas I have encountered. I do not know if the right side of my brain is more dominant than my left, but some of the solutions I come up with to a problem tend to be more creative than reality based. Gratefully the advice my friends offer me is direct and cuts to the heart of the matter, bringing clarity to my concerns. I do the same thing for them as I have been know to say, “What is the bottom line?” The question cuts to what will it take to make them comfortable with their decision. Not one for having things sugarcoated, I have appreciation for the directness in the way Madea doles out her advice. Played by Tyler Perry (Alex Cross, Good Deeds), Madea agreed to take a trip with her friend Eileen, played by Anna Maria Horsford (Our Family Wedding, Broken Bridges) to Alabama where Eileen was going to surprise her daughter Lacey, played by Tika Sumpter (Salt, What’s Your Number?), for Christmas. Arriving at their destination would not only be a surprise for Lacey, but would be for the small country town once they got a dose of Madea. This latest dramatic comedy in the escapades of Madea was as tired as a bloodhound on a hot summer day. I found the jokes predictable with the better ones having already been used in the movie trailers. To its favor, I am sure these films with Madea keep a positive economic stream flowing through the Atlanta area where the studio is located, keeping people employed. However, this film was stale from the start. At least I enjoyed Kathy Najimy (Sister Act, Hocus Pocus) and Larry the Cable Guy (Witless Protection, Delta Farce) as wife and husband, Kim and Buddy. For me the best part of this film was the gag reel used during the credits. I know Tyler is not interested in my advice, but I feel Madea needs a makeover for a fresh new look.
1 1/2 stars