It's probably useful to think of Madea's Family Reunion as a department store. There's something for almost anybody. Shopping for a paperback melodrama? It's on the first floor. Looking for a gospel sermon? Try the third. Bawdy physical comedy? The cellar, obviously. Some parts of Tyler Perry's new movie are better than others - and all of it is better than Diary of a Mad Black Woman, his last one.
Perry wrote, directed, produced, and scored Family Reunion and plays three characters in the film. But, amazingly, the movie doesn't reek of vanity. Someone else did a cruddy job directing the previous film, which Perry also wrote. So even though Diary was a huge surprise hit, you get the feeling Perry has taken the reins because, presumably, he wanted it done right.
Madea's Family Reunion (Lions Gate ) Starring Tyler Perry, Lynn Whitfield, Rochelle Aytes, Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Blair Underwood. Written and directed by Tyler Perry. Rated PG-13. Time 107 minutes.