Big Momma's House (2000)

BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE takes almost a half-hour to get star Martin Law-
rence in drag.  Before then, the film's one good guffaw is a DUMB 
AND DUMBER-style bathroom bit involving stewed prunes and the re-
sulting aural and olfactory effects when said prunes rapidly exit 
the body.  Mercifully, the rest of the movie is considerably more 
tasteful.  (If never nearly as hilarious...)  When Lawrence's fat 
lady finally starts singing-- he's an FBI agent posing as a sus-
pect's equatorially challenged grandmother-- the results are more 
frantic than funny.  (Witness director Raja Gosnell's unabashed 
lack of comic timing in an emergency childbirth sequence involving 
an array of decidedly non-sterile kitchen utensils.)  The various 
barely amusing bits include BM playing basketball, BM delivering a 
sermon, and BM trying to cook Southern-style.  (Regarding the lat-
ter, a can of Crisco also figures into the aforementioned birthin' 
scene.)  The film's most obvious fault is that Martin's Momma is 
not given nearly enough screen time.  Instead, we're always cut-
ting away to the bad guy (yawn), the behind-the-scenes activities 
of the agents (yawn again), or Lawrence's character out of costume 
and making the moves on Big Momma's beautiful granddaughter slash 
suspect (double yawn).  (Comparing the latter to a similar subplot 
in TOOTSIE risks implying that this is even *remotely* comparable 
in quality.)  On the plus side, at least for family members, there 
isn't nearly as much raunch as Lawrence's presence suggests.  (And 
we've already seen the "is that a flashlight in your pocket?" bit 
in the trailer.)  No, it ain't no MRS. DOUBTFIRE.  Hell, it isn't 
even as funny as the dinner table scene in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR.  
You *do* get to hear, however, the imaginatively inspiration line 
"she's been to sorrow's kitchen and licked the plot clean."  Not 
to mention the "ass cam" in the big, surprise-party-with-guns, 
pre-hugs-and-kisses-coda finale.  Only *then* do I recommend run-
ning for the door.  With Nia Long, Paul Giamatti, Terrence Howard, 
Ella Mitchell, Jascha Washington, and Anthony Anderson.  (Rated 
"PG-13"/97 min.)

Grade: D+

Copyright 2000 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: Fat Suit Not Funny

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