Madea's Family Reunion
|Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tyler Perry|
|Produced by||Tyler Perry|
|Written by||Tyler Perry|
Lisa Arrindell Anderson
|Music by||Elvin Ross|
|Edited by||John Carter|
Tyler Perry Studios
Reuben Cannon Productions
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Entertainment|
|Box office||$63.3 million|
Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion is a 2006 comedy-drama film adaptation of the stage production of the same name written by Tyler Perry and sequel to Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It was written and directed by Perry, who also played several characters, including Madea. It was released on February 24, 2006, nearly one year following its predecessor, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The independent film was produced by Lionsgate.
After Madea (Tyler Perry) violates the terms of her house arrest (which she was subjected to in the previous film), the judge orders her to take in a troubled foster child named Nikki (Keke Palmer) in order to avoid jail. At first, Madea and Nikki clash due to the latter's bad attitude and disrespect, stemming from her poor life up to this point, including an absent father, a mother in jail, and a slew of uncaring foster homes. However, Madea tells her that the only way to really overcome her poor life is to work to do and be better than the people who have let and put her down. Nikki takes Madea's words to heart and gradually reforms her behavior over the course of the film.
Lisa Breaux (Rochelle Aytes), one of Madea's nieces, is engaged to Carlos Armstrong (Blair Underwood), an abusive and controlling investment banker. While she desperately wants to get out of the engagement, her conniving gold-digging mother, Victoria (Lynn Whitfield), urges her to go through with the wedding, telling Lisa to avoid doing things that make Carlos angry. Vanessa (Lisa Arrindell Anderson), the other of Madea's nieces, who lives with her, has two children fathered by two different men, neither of whom is involved in their children's lives; Victoria regularly degrades Vanessa for this, even referring to her grandchildren as "bastards". Vanessa is successfully, though through some struggle, wooed by poetry-spouting bus driver Frankie Henderson (Boris Kodjoe), who is the single father of a young son, and has a passion for painting. As much as Vanessa likes Frankie, she is emotionally closed off and has a difficult time trusting him.
Lisa eventually leaves Carlos with the intention of calling off the wedding, temporarily moving in with Madea. Carlos, eager to move forward with the wedding, dispatches Victoria to bring Lisa back to him. Victoria confronts Carlos about the abuse, suggesting that insecurity about his masculinity is causing him to act out and that he needs counseling. Carlos counters this by suggesting that Victoria is controlling every aspect of her daughter's life because she wants to make up for all of the shortcomings in her own. It is then revealed that Victoria, with Carlos's assistance, has stolen from Lisa's trust fund over the years, leaving virtually no money left, and is now encouraging Lisa to marry Carlos in order to keep up her livelihood. Carlos makes it clear to Victoria that he will not bail her out unless the wedding goes forward. Victoria goes to Madea's house to fetch Lisa, only to end up in a passionate argument with Vanessa, who has become aware of Carlos's abuse and is eager to protect her sister.
During the confrontation, Vanessa reveals a shocking secret to her younger sister: Victoria allowed her second husband, Lisa's father, to rape Vanessa in order to keep him in the marriage. Vanessa states that the sexual abuse occurred on a regular basis after that, which as a result, left her closed off emotionally and unable to trust the men in her life, including Frankie. Even more shockingly, Victoria makes no attempt to deny Vanessa's accusations. Instead, she rationalizes her actions, telling her daughters that they would have been destitute if Lisa's father had left, and that after going through a previous divorce with Vanessa's father and working two jobs to support the family afterwards, she was tired of struggling and felt that she deserved better. She also reveals that her own mother, a prostitute and drug addict, regularly traded her for "ten dollars and a fix", essentially almost mirroring what she'd done with Vanessa and Lisa's father.
Victoria then states that she would not allow Vanessa to ruin her happiness, and that she would not apologize for the choices she'd made. She then turns on a horrified Lisa, demanding that Lisa begin taking care of her financially as she made sure that Lisa had the best of everything while she was growing up. Vanessa then derides Victoria for constantly controlling her and Lisa as her punching bag and puppet respectively, and how it has left her a mess; she vows not to let the pain and suffering her mother has subjected her to over the years hold her back any longer, and to break their family's tragic cycle by embracing the true love that she has found with Frankie and being a better mother to her own children. Victoria then leaves and later lies to Lisa, telling her that Carlos has agreed to counseling. Lisa eventually returns to Carlos and resumes her wedding plans.
At the family reunion, held at the home of ninety-six-year-old Aunt Ruby (Georgia Allen), Vanessa and Victoria get into another verbal confrontation, which eventually turns into a physical fight after Victoria insults Vanessa about her relationship with Frankie in front of the family. The fight is broken up when Myrtle, (Cicely Tyson) Madea's daughter-in-law, and Aunt May (Maya Angelou) gather the family members to an old shack the family's ancestors grew up in. They, along with some of the older members of the family, express appellation and disappointment at how the family has turned out and Myrtle gives a long speech convincing them to act better to each other and to themselves.
On the day of Lisa's wedding, Madea tells her that it's time for her to stand up against Carlos and fight back. When he arrives at Madea's house, he asks that he and Lisa be alone. Madea asks Carlos if he'd like something to eat, and tells Lisa to give him some grits on the stove, noting to her that they're hot. When Madea leaves the house with Nikki, Carlos brutally slaps Lisa in the face, but then, in retaliation, she throws the pot of hot grits in his face, burning him badly, and then beats him with a frying pan, as Madea listens outside with laughter. She then takes off her engagement ring and throws it at an injured Carlos before leaving. At the church, Lisa announces to the guests that Carlos had been beating her every day since they first got engaged and that the wedding is off. Frankie then asks Vanessa to marry him. She says yes, and they're married at the church instead. At the reception, Victoria tells Vanessa that the two are a beautiful couple and they hug, signifying the first steps in a possible reconciliation.
- Tyler Perry as Brian, Joe, and Mabel "Madea" Simmons
- Blair Underwood as Carlos Armstrong
- Lynn Whitfield as Victoria Breaux
- Boris Kodjoe as Frankie Henderson
- Lisa Arrindell Anderson as Vanessa Breaux
- Maya Angelou as Aunt May
- Rochelle Aytes as Lisa Breaux
- Jenifer Lewis as Milay Jenay Lori
- Keke Palmer as Nikki Grady
- Tangi Miller as Donna
- Henry Simmons as Isaac
- Cicely Tyson as Myrtle
- China Anne McClain as Tamara
- Johnny Gill as Wedding singer
- Cassi Davis as Aunt Sarah
- Georgia Allen as Aunt Ruby
- Nicholas Ortiz as Himself
- Judge Mablean Ephriam (cameo) as Herself
- David Wiebers as Wedding Musician (trumpet)
The soundtrack was released by Motown Records on February 21, 2006.
|1.||"Find Myself in You"||Brian McKnight||4:14|
|2.||"We're Gonna Make It"||LL Cool J and Mary Mary||4:54|
|3.||"Keep Your Head Up"||Chaka Khan||4:34|
|5.||"Everyday (Family Reunion)"||Chaka Khan, Carl Thomas, Yolanda Adams, and Gerald Levert||4:48|
|6.||"Love and Happiness"||Al Green||5:02|
|7.||"You For Me (Wedding Song)"||Johnny Gill||5:37|
|8.||"Family Reunion"||The O'Jays||6:55|
|9.||"I'll Be"||Will Downing||4:10|
|10.||"Wounds in the Way"||Rachelle Ferrell||4:21|
Release and reception
Madea's Family Reunion was budgeted at $6 million and opened at #1 in its opening weekend (2/24-26) with $30,030,661 and eventually grossed $63,257,940 in North America with an additional $50,939 internationally, tying $63,308,879 worldwide after 9 weeks in theaters.
Small independent filmmaker Tyler Perry has garnered one of the highest wide-release openings to date in 2006, in both gross ($30 million) and screen average ($13,687).
"The number one movie is Madea's Family Reunion, a small comedy/melodrama which grossed an astounding $30.3 million from 2,194 venues. It had a super-hot venue average of $13,787...."
"Playing at 2,194 locations across North America, the film averaged a remarkable estimated $13,788 per screen, demonstrating the enormous breadth and depth of Perry's audience. The debut weekend of Madea's Family Reunion outperformed the opening weekend of Lionsgate's first Tyler Perry film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, by nearly 40 percent."
The reasoning for the film's relative success, according to Steve Rothenberg, Lions Gate president of domestic distribution, is due to its targeted market appeal, "I believe that we're in all the right theaters...I'm not sure there's much room for expansion." To illustrate the point, Lions Gate's exit polls showed 52 percent of the audience were black women over the age of 35.
Madea's Family Reunion received mixed reviews from critics. It holds a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 25%, based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The consensus reads "Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion is sincere in its positive intentions, but leaves something to be desired as a film." Metacritic gives the film a score of 45% based on reviews from 18 critics.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2006-03-16.
- http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060226/nysu016.html?.v=39[dead link]
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