Big Momma's House Review
By Christopher Null
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when Big Momma's House was cooked up.... Dress funnyman Martin Lawrence up as a 350-pound Georgia grandmother, spin him around, and let him do his thang. Beat Eddie Murphy at his own game (Nutty Professor II hits theaters later this year), shoot it for cheap with no other real stars, and grab some good grosses.
Sure enough, Big Momma's House is a comic crowd-pleaser that should score well with audiences that refuse to tire of incessant fat jokes, slapstick, and, well, more fat jokes.
So, how do we get Martin to dress up as a fat woman? Naturally, he's not just a crack FBI agent, he's also a master of disguise. Ethan Hunt, look out! When a case involving a prison escapee and a few million dollars of missing booty (er, no pun intended) comes around, it's up to intrepid Martin to go deep undercover as "Big Momma," the grandmother of our convict's estranged girlfriend (Nia Long) who may or may not be hiding the cash. Yikes!
Naturally, this "plot" is pure throwaway, mainly serving to break up the scenes in which Martin-as-Big Momma tries to cook soul food, plays basketball, "testifies" in church, and nuzzles up to his/her erstwhile granddaughter. Will the convict show up just as the real Big Momma returns home from a trip? Will Martin get the girl? I'd love to say that Big Momma's House is full of surprises, but I think you're getting the picture by now. The mental flashbacks of Mrs. Doubtfire don't help matters, either.
Now there's nothing wrong with physical comedy. Seeing Martin's faux boob appear on his shoulder is awfully funny, until about 45 minutes of the same joke being repeated ad nauseam. Paul Giamatti adds a curious levity to the picture, and Long's femme fatale is at least good for eye candy. But the producers messed up one tiny detail when they put this picture together: Whoever decided to put Bad Boy Martin Lawrence in a PG-13 neo-family production ought to be forced to watch the end result over and over again until they figure out that Lawrence's strengths are not in his fat ass, but in his big mouth.
Shut yo mouth!
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 2nd June 2000
Box Office Worldwide: $174M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Regency Enterprises
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 57
Cast & Crew