Tyler Perry as Madea in A Madea Homecoming

‘A Madea Homecoming’ Offers Laughs, but Still Puts Family at the Forefront

The newest addition to the huge film franchise takes a look at how stressful the journey of growing up can be — for both kids and their parents.

Graduation is around the corner for many college seniors — which means family from all over will be coming in to celebrate your big accomplishment. Whether we like that family may be hard to tell, especially if you have a Madea in yours. “A Madea Homecoming” focuses on the familial drama of her grandchildren, as her great-grandson Tim is graduating from college.

The movie begins much like Tyler Perry’s other Madea movies: a front shot of the house, Madea and Uncle Joe arguing and poor Mr. Brown getting hurt. As the family trickles in, the backstories of some characters are revealed bit by bit — like Tim’s mother, Laura, played by Gabrielle Dennis, and her divorce. Of course, it’s not a Tyler Perry movie without some current events thrown in there. Throughout the film, there are discussions about the Black Lives Matter movement and defunding the police. There’s also weed. Lots of discussions about weed.

But there’s a surprise. As the movie plays out, Tim’s roommate, Davi, is shocked by his great aunt Agnes, a.k.a. Mrs. Brown, and his cousin Cathy, played by Jennifer Gibney. Mrs. Brown might sound familiar if you’re a fan of BritBox, a British streaming service. Played by Brendan O’Carroll, Mrs. Brown hails from the 11-year running show “Mrs. Brown’s Boys.” For the newest Madea film, Mrs. Brown and Cathy come all the way from Ireland to see Davi graduate and then drag him back home to run the farm.

Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can go awry. You can always count on the Madea family to have some secrets and drama up their sleeves. At first, the drama stays with Tim’s father, Richard, whom he’s invited unbeknownst to everyone else. Madea nearly shoots him for trying to say hello to her, scaring the sugar honey iced tea out of all the guests. If that wasn’t enough, Tim’s not-so-secret secret puts the viewer too at ease to see the next shock coming.

Tim’s father is engaged to his ex-wife’s divorce lawyer. If you’re an avid Tyler Perry fan, you might consider this “A Madea Homecoming” scene as repetitive, or from another movie. However, this isn’t even the most shocking event to occur. That falls on Davi and Laura, Tim’s own best friend and mother, who have a secret relationship.

Meanwhile, as the drama unfolds, Madea is feeding Mrs. Brown the little chocolate weed poppers she made. Mr. Brown, while higher than a kite, tries to be a flying squirrel. Tim is lost as to what to do, and all of this is just two days before his graduation. It might seem like there is too much drama, but what Tyler Perry does best is give Madea sage advice to hand out to everyone.

“Children are gonna live their lives whether we want them to or not,” according to Madea in her speech to Mrs. Brown about Davi’s desire to marry Laura and stay in the United States.

“Make sure you say ‘I do’ to more than one person,” is another great piece of wisdom from “A Madea Homecoming.” When it comes down to it, people change over time, and you have to make sure you’re ready to commit to them no matter what.

Tyler Perry certainly did it again by making a Madea movie that puts the family in front of all else. Despite the drama, the political discussions and the jokes about weed, the real message of the movie is clear. Family should always have your back, no matter what. In the end, Tim accepted his best friend and mother’s relationship. Mrs. Brown, high as all get out, also accepted Davi’s choice to be happy in the United States. Not to mention, she was extremely happy to have Madea’s chocolate weed recipe.

With the time for graduation nearing for college seniors, this movie hit a home run on depicting the changes that come from dealing with family as you exit your academic career. Your parents, like Laura, are going to be moving forward in their lives. It’s a hard thought; no lies about it. But parents need to be free to make choices for themselves as they did before their lives centered on their children. After all, college students focus a lot more on growing themselves and making their own choices as well. This comes with making mistakes. Though, hopefully not as big of a mistake as dating your best friend’s parent and then hiding the fact.

Overall, “A Madea Homecoming” is a definite must-watch for just about anyone — maybe more so for college kids about to graduate and their families. It has everything a Tyler Perry movie should have, with an extra touch of Irish humor. But most of all, the theme of family brings even the most stubborn of families together to laugh until they cry at Tyler Perry’s Madea masterpiece.

While this might mean the laughter never stops, the importance of family never quits, either. So be kind to yourself and your family as you watch. Your graduation, like Tim’s in “A Madea Homecoming,” could be the boiling point of family drama. Or, at the very least, it could be a very emotional day for them. Just remember Madea’s wise words, and life will be good.

Rebecca Trevathan, University of Texas at Austin

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Rebecca Trevathan

University of Texas at Austin

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