The funniest movie of the year is Alex Cross. Tyler Perry stars in the serious crime thriller, which accomplishes two great feats: it made me laugh so hard I cried, and it reminded me why I avoid Tyler Perry movies at all costs.
Madea's Serious Crime Thriller is about how angry Dr. Alex Cross, who was formerly played by Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, becomes when a sociopathic, anorexic assassin (Matthew Fox) murders his wife. I'll give you a hint: he breaks into his own police evidence storage facility, commits assault on a guard and gives the stolen evidence to a gangster just so he can torture a young man marginally connected to the killer.
Tyler Perry. Morgan Freeman. It's incredible one replaced the other, and inconceivable that any studio executive believed Man-Madea could walk in the Oscar winner's shoes.
Then again, Morgan Freeman would never attach himself to a ludicrous, unintentional comedy such as this.
Tyler Perry turns in a laughably terrible performance as the title character. He is truly painful to watch. Whether he is quivering his lips to emote or staring into the distance to make speeches, Man-Madea is cringe inducing. Meanwhile, Matthew Fox went on a strict diet to play the villain, but with his weight he lost his acting ability, too. His over-the-top performance is hammy and comical, a far cry from the menacing and psychopathic attributes he was shooting for. And then there is Cicely Tyson, whose stereotypical role as an African-American grandmother singlehandedly sets back race relations by a decade. Tyler Perry couldn't have played the role worse. Well, maybe.
The real problem with Madea's Serious Crime Thriller is the inept screenplay. Most of the dialogue is cliché, character actions befuddling and story development incoherent. There are so many inane moments in the film that it's stunning the script didn't grow legs, walk to the edge of the desk and jump into a shredder, and then crawl, piece by piece, into a furnace. Screenwriters Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson, if they had a good script at one time, appear to have rewritten the film to look, feel and sound like a Tyler Perry-directed movie.
The world doesn't need more Tyler Perry-directed movies.
Rob Cohen got caught up in Tyler Perry mania, too. He's never been a very good director and hasn't made anything worthwhile since the mid-nineties, but Madea's Serious Crime Thriller is a new low for the man. Awkward camera work, stilted storytelling and silly action scenes - highlighted by a climax that has Man-Madea in a blurry fistfight with a villain who is supposed to be a skilled MMA fighter - all collide, and the result is uglier than Tyler Perry dressed as a woman.
Alex Cross is an absurd, pathetically awful action-thriller that features not only some of the worst performances ever seen in a mainstream production, but also truly embarrassing writing. Kiss the Girls was a good movie. Along Came a Spider was mediocre. Madea Cross is simply a travesty.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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