By Jeff Milby–

Regardless of how you feel about Tyler Perry, there’s no denying he has been incredibly successful in creating a niche for himself in Hollywood.

“Boo! A Madea Halloween” is Perry’s latest in a long line of comedies, succeeding in all the ways you would expect while falling short just as predictably.

Perry wants to make Eddie Murphy movies with the social mores of a Cliff Huxtable family lesson. The main plot and its execution were simple – a group of teenage girls want to go to a Halloween frat party against a father’s wishes. The characters fit in together like cookie cutters from Dave Chappelle’s “Mad Real World,” including a group of fraternity brothers who would make even the most frat-tastic college student cringe.

Where the movie succeeds is just where you would expect it to: with Madea and her acolytes sitting around, riffing on modern youth culture in comparison to the “old-school,” all through the haze of marijuana smoke and references to a simpler time when parents beat their children. When in costume, Perry is capable of genuinely funny lines and moments. It makes you wonder why he hasn’t been able to create a stronger story to bring character creation – his true skill – to the silver screen.

The plot appeared to be little more than an afterthought. As a character, Madea works best when she is in her comfort zone which is on the couch, not running from zombies. Why Perry would want to put his most popular character in that situation?

Fans of the series will leave with smiles on their faces. Madea is as funny and entertaining in “Boo!” as she’s always been, but she and other characters are the lone bright spot in what is an otherwise lousy movie.