Sunday, April 25, 2010


Hilton Als makes some nuanced and devastating criticisms of Tyler Perry's Madea plays and films (which, frankly, I knew nothing about before reading Als's article—apart from seeing billboards and wondering, vaguely, if these productions were somehow related to those movies where Eddie Murphy dresses up like a fat woman), but he also tosses off this stingingly well-aimed aside about films like Knocked Up and Funny People, which other critics at Als's magazine have given undue praise, in my opinion:

The heroes of Perry's movies bear no resemblance to the young white men in search of a sense of purpose in the comedies of, say, Judd Apatow or Adam Sandler. (Madea, of course, would have no truck with the lack of faith in those scenarios, which are driven by the dual forces of white-male power and white-male sexuality, and by the exploration of a kind of freedom that the blacks in her community can't even dream of.) The white-boy comedies of the past two decades are about the grating, strained emo charm of never growing up, while Perry's films are about the necessity of growing up in a largely segregated world.

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