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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

Madea, the familiar, frequently mixed-up, but mostly moral force of nature in a muumuu, has one of her weaker outings in the laboriously titled "Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection" (Lionsgate).

Perhaps the formula is spent. Certainly, the feisty old gal—writer-director Perry himself, of course, in drag—has lost much of her comic impact, even when she's applying seemingly undiminished physical impact to get her points across.

This time around, the set-up is that Madea is sheltering a white family because her nephew Brian (also Perry), an Atlanta district attorney, has asked her to help them.

George Needleman (Eugene Levy), it seems, has for years been the innocent front man for a corporate Ponzi scheme connected to organized crime. Facing fraud charges on a Bernard Madoff scale and threatened by the mobsters as well, George needs a place to hide. What better spot, thinks Brian, than the house of his Aunt Madea?

There, George is joined in seclusion by wife Kate (Denise Richards), batty mother Barbara (Doris Roberts) and disrespectful son and daughter Howie (Devan Leos) and Cindy (Danielle Campbell).

Madea's initial reluctance in the face of Joe's plan is tempered by the $4,000 a month she will receive for her hospitality.

The massive crime, we learn, has even touched nearby, since Jake (Romeo Miller), the son of Pastor Nelson (John Amos), invested the church's mortgage fund in one of the scheme's front companies, losing it all in the fallout.

Perry doesn't traffic in the tasteless racial humor his scenario might suggest. Instead, he sticks to the broader—and well-worn—theme of the cultural shock that ensues when stuffy Caucasians mingle with earthy black folks.

Madea, as always, sums up the obvious: "How do you expect me to hide five white people in a neighborhood that don't even have white cats or white cars? They'll stick out like me at a Republican convention. Do I look like I likes Newt Ginger?"

Trademark Perry themes of respect for parents, adherence to one's religious beliefs and self-confidence carry the day. Madea advises the terrified Needleman, "I don't let no one feel sorry for themselves in this house." And the happy ending rushes in before you (or Madea) can proclaim, "Hallelujer!"

The film contains occasional slapstick violence as well as fleeting crass language and drug references. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Josephine Bakhita: For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed. 
<p>Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of seven, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means <i>fortunate</i>. She was re-sold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan. </p><p>Two years later he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice's Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine. </p><p>When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine's behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885. </p><p>Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters' school and the local citizens. She once said, "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!" </p><p>The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.</p> American Catholic Blog St. Paul talks about the Christian life as a race, and encourages us to run so as to win. So it’s not just OK, it’s commanded to be competitive, to strive to excel. But true greatness consists in sharing in the sacrificial love of Christ, who comes to serve rather than to be served. That means that this race St. Paul is talking about is a race to the bottom.

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