Madea's Big Happy Family (film)
Madea's Big Happy Family is a 2011 American comedy film based on Tyler Perry's 2010 play of the same name and the 11th film in the Tyler Perry film franchise, and the fifth in the Madea franchise. Besides Tyler Perry reprising Madea and Joe, the rest of the cast consists of Loretta Devine, Shad "Bow Wow" Moss, David Mann, Cassi Davis, Tamela Mann, Lauren London, Isaiah Mustafa, Natalie Desselle, Rodney Perry, and Shannon Kane.
Shirley (Loretta Devine), Madea’s niece, goes to visit Dr. Evans (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) with Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) about her cancer and finds out that it has gotten worse, and that she may only have a few weeks to live. She asks Aunt Bam to call her children so she can invite them to dinner to tell them all at the same time. Cora Brown and her father, 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 'Snax', because the manager had delayed taking her order until after the restaurant had stopped serving breakfast for the day due to being pre-occupied with a phone call, and had been very rude to Madea when she called the manager out on it.
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. 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" due to him having been one in the past before being caught and incarcerated. 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 'Snax', the restaurant that Madea crashed her car into earlier that day.
Bryon, Sabrina, and Kimberly then leave the dinner with their respective families due to the constant arguing and drama as well as their own reasons, and Shirley doesn't get the chance to tell the family about her cancer. During the night, 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 to 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 and Harold 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 sons 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 that day was his last strike. 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 had a child at 13 years old. Byron realizes that he is Kimberly’s son and storms out of the house, angry that this secret was kept from him. Later that night, for the first time at Madea's urging, Harold puts his foot down towards Tammy and tells her to start respecting 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 he was fed up with the constant bickering and power struggle between them that resulted, which also caused their sons 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 drugstore, 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 reluctantly decides to go back to dealing drugs.
Overtime, Shirley's condition worsens greatly and she goes to the hospital. She later tells Byron (who abandoned his drug-dealing corner upon learning of her 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.
During Shirley's funeral service, the song "Heaven Waits For Me" that was performed in the original stageplay, is sang by Sister Laura (Chandra Currelley) and the choir, consisting of the cast of the original stage play. At the reception that followed, 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 to remain on the right path, because returning to drug dealing will only result in him returning to prison or getting killed, and Renee will simply move onto the next person with the most money; she 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 a paternal uncle when she was 12, which resulted in her pregnancy with Byron; this was also the reason for Kimberly's hostility towards her family, due to her continuously holding onto her anger at her uncle for raping her. Madea urges Kimberly to forgive her uncle for her own sake; otherwise, he'll continue to hold power over her and she'll never be able to 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 due to her continued selfishness and gold-digging behaviors.
The film ends with Madea, Mr. Brown, and Cora on Maury 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 which Joe finds humorous.
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. By the end of its run, the $25 million film grossed $53,345,287 in the United States.
The film has received mixed reviews from critics. Based on 41 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 37% with an average rating of 4.48/10. Metacritic, gave the film an average rating of 45 based on 15 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an A grade.
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". The Blu-ray contains these features including a digital copy.