Madea's Big Happy Family (film)

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Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family
Madea's Big Happy Family Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tyler Perry
Produced by Tyler Perry
Reuben Cannon
Roger M. Bobb
Written by Tyler Perry
Starring Tyler Perry
Loretta Devine
Shad "Bow Wow" Moss
David Mann
Cassi Davis
Tamela Mann
Lauren London
Isaiah Mustafa
Rodney Perry
Shannon Kane
Teyana Taylor
Music by Aaron Zigman
Cinematography Toyomichi Kurita
Edited by Maysie Hoy
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date
  • April 22, 2011 (2011-04-22)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[1]
Box office $54 million[2]

Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family is a 2011 comedy-drama film based on Tyler Perry's 2010 play of the same name and the 11th film in the Tyler Perry film franchise, and the sixth in the Madea franchise.


Shirley (Loretta Devine), the main character of the film, goes to visit Dr. Evans (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) with her longtime family friend, Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) about her cancer and finds out that it has gotten worse, and that she may only have a few months to live. She asks Aunt Bam to call her children so she can tell them. Cora and Mr. Brown (David and Tamela Mann) are also at the hospital, to get Mr. Brown a check-up. Dr. Evans tells them he has to do a colonoscopy on Mr. Brown, and they find a growth that needs to be removed surgically. Meanwhile, Madea (Tyler Perry) furiously and violently drives her car through a restaurant named 'Smax', because they stopped serving breakfast for the day when she wanted a biscuit sandwich, and because the manager had been very rude to her.

Shirley's children Byron (Shad "Bow Wow" Moss), Tammy (Natalie Desselle-Reid), and Kimberly (Shannon Kane) arrive at Shirley's house later that day for a dinner Shirley has planned for them in order to tell them the sad news about her recent prognosis from Dr. Evans. Byron arrives with his girlfriend Renee (Lauren London) and his baby Byron Jr. Tammy arrives with her husband Harold (Rodney Perry) and their two kids, with the former two subsequently carrying their argument over directions to the house with them. Kimberly arrives with her husband Calvin (Isaiah Mustafa). Tammy and Kimberly then start to argue when Byron's ex-girlfriend Sabrina (Teyana Taylor) and "baby mama" (Byron Jr.'s biological mother) arrives.

Sabrina quickly gets on Byron's nerves by addressing him as a "drug dealer" (since he was one when he was young and got arrested for it) and loudly extending out the last vowel and consonant sounds of his name, just to annoy him and his family. On top of that, she also lies excessively, uses her son's child support money and supplies for herself, and also tries to goad Byron back into selling drugs, so she can get more money for herself in the process. Moreover, she also turns out to be the manager of 'Smax', the restaurant that Madea crashed her car into earlier that day when Sabrina rudely lashed out at Madea about the restaurant not serving breakfast anymore for the day.

Everybody leaves the dinner later on that afternoon due to the constant arguing as well as their own reasons, and Shirley doesn't get the chance to tell them about her cancer. During the night, Byron and Renee sneak inside Shirley's house to sleep there, but Byron is arrested by the police for failing to pay child support. Shirley goes to Kimberly's house to ask her to bail him out, but Kimberly refuses. Calvin instead helps Shirley bail him out, much to Kimberly's anger and consternation.

The next day, Aunt Bam tells Madea about Shirley's cancer prognosis and the family’s situation, to which Madea promises to gather all Shirley’s children for another dinner that evening. She goes to Harold’s auto repair garage where Tammy works with him and authoritatively demands her to go to the family dinner. After she does so, Tammy then gets called by a client, and Madea takes the opportunity to discipline Tammy’s two unruly children for their disrespect, putting fear into them. She then goes to Byron’s workplace, but she finds him outside, since he was fired for being late as he spent the night in jail. It is revealed that the manager (played by Palmer Williams, Jr.) had fired Byron because him being late for the job that day was the last straw. Madea then brusquely demands that he is at the family dinner as well and threatens him if he does not come. She proceeds to Kimberly, whom she finds her showing clients a new house, as it is revealed that she is a real estate agent, and she peremptorily yells at her to attend the dinner after Kimberly attempts to ignore her. Meanwhile, Mr. Brown loses a lot of blood during his surgery and the doctor asks Cora to donate some. When she does, she finds out that she doesn't have the same blood type as him, implying that he may not be her real, biological father.

At dinner later on that night, Tammy and Kimberly have a vicious argument that leads to Tammy revealing that Kimberly is Byron’s birth mother, having had him when she was 13 years old. Byron storms out of the house, angry that this secret was kept from him. Later that night, for the first time, Harold puts his foot down towards Tammy and tells her to respect him more. Tammy and Harold then sort their problems out: Harold started acting weak because Tammy kept undermining his authority and pushing to be the dominant one in the relationship, and the resultant bickering and power struggle between them led their children to have no respect for their parents or anyone else. After dinner, Kimberly and Calvin continue to fight, which results in Calvin leaving and taking their son with him, much to Kimberly's dismay. The next day, when Byron and Renee go to the drug store, where they see Sabrina on "Maury" via the store's TV, humiliating Byron and demanding her child support. This finally pushes Byron over the edge, and he decides to go back to dealing drugs.

Overtime, Shirley’s condition worsens greatly and she goes to the hospital. She later tells Byron (who left his drug dealing corner after learning of Shirley's hospitalization), Tammy, Harold, and Calvin, who arrive to see her, that she loves them all, including Kimberly who isn’t present at the time, and after giving them some last words of advice, she dies. At Shirley's funeral service, which is held at a local church a few days later, the church choir, played by several of the cast members from Madea's Big Happy Family: the Play, including one of the members of the choir who sings lead that is played by Chandra Currelley-Young, sings the song "Heaven Waits For Me." After Shirley's funeral service, later on back at the house, Madea confronts the family, saying that Shirley was a peaceful woman and that she would not have wanted all the fighting going on between them.

First, Madea confronts Sabrina about abusing Byron’s hard-earned money, and that she needs to start respecting him, especially telling her to stop using their child to make his life miserable or she will be dealing with Madea herself or worse. Second, Madea confronts Byron and tells him to get himself a new job in order remain on the right path, because selling drugs again will only lead him to his own demise (a return to prison or an early grave) and Renee will just move on to the next man with a lot of money; Madea also threatens Renee when she attempts to backtalk. Madea also tells both Byron and Sabrina to start working together to take care of their baby, and settle things between them wisely and peacefully. Third, Madea tells everyone that Shirley didn't want her children to know that Kimberly had been raped by an uncle of hers, on her father's side, when she was 12, which resulted in her pregnancy with Byron, and was why she became so hostile and aggressive towards everyone, because she hadn't forgiven the man that raped her. Madea urges Kimberly to forgive her uncle for her own sake; otherwise, he'll continue to have power over her, and she'll never be able to move on or make peace with herself and what he did to her. Kimberly then sorts her issues with Calvin, feeling that she doesn't know how to begin, and finally hugs him and apologizes while they agree to acquire some professional help. Byron breaks up with Renee, because he just buried his mother while Renee keeps thinking only about herself, and trying to get him to deal drugs again.

The film ends with Madea, Mr. Brown, and Cora on The Maury Povich Show to find out if Mr. Brown is in fact Cora's father. Madea insists that he is, but it turns out he's not. This shocks Madea, who runs off-stage, sobbing hysterically. Madea does this mocking the running gag on the Maury Povich Show of how many of the woman, when it is revealed that their old romantic interests are not the real fathers of their child(ren), they run off-stage and sob wildly and hysterically. (Although the DNA tests on the show reveals that Mr. Brown is not Cora's real father, this, however, is non-canon to the rest of the Tyler Perry franchise as Mr. Brown is still portrayed as Cora's father).



Box office[edit]

Madea's Big Happy Family was released on April 22, 2011. It opened with $25,068,677 on its opening weekend, ranking #2 at the box office behind Rio.[3] By the end of its run, the $25 million[1] film grossed $53,345,287 in the United States.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film has received mixed reviews from critics. Based on 40 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating of 38% with an average rating of 4.6/10.[4] Another review aggretator, Metacritic, gave the film an average rating of 45 based on 15 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]

Home media[edit]

Madea's Big Happy Family was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 30, 2011. The DVD features four featurettes: "By-reen: The Baby Mama from Hell", "Ties That Bind", "Madea's Family Tree", and "Brown Calls Maury".[6] The Blu-ray contains these features including a digital copy.[7]

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