Tyler Perry has his Madea character on a leash in the latest movie in that franchise, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection,” a comedy that’s too late to the Ponzi-scheme party to be topical and not outrageous enough to take advantage of its own setups.
Perry, again playing the matronly, mouthy Madea and several other characters (as well as writing and directing), concocts a tale that features Eugene Levy as George Needleman, a chief financial officer who doesn’t realize that his company has been running a Ponzi scheme that has been bilking charities.
A prosecutor (Perry) needs a safe place to stash George while he turns him into a star witness, so he sends George and his family to live with his Aunt Madea.
Madea, alas, doesn’t seem as if her heart were in this one, letting a lot of opportunities to tear into something go by.
For instance, George has a disrespectful daughter (Danielle Campbell) who would benefit from a Madea beat down, but when it comes, it’s uncharacteristically tame. And when Perry finds an excuse to send Madea through airport security, her reaction to the intrusiveness is tamer than what you’d see in an average real-life airport screening. This time around, the old gal just seems to be mailing it in.
“Madea’s Witness Protection” is rated PG-13 and is showing at UEC Theater 12.