Film Scouts Reviews

"Big Momma's House"

by Thom Bennett

CAST:: Martin Lawrence, Nia Long, Paul Giamatti, Terrence Howard , Ella Mitchell, Jascha Washington, Anthony Anderson

CREDITS:Directed by Raja Gosnell. Story by Darryl Quarles. Screenplay by Darryl Quarles and Don Rhymer. Produced by Peaches Davis, David T. Friendly, Michael Green. Executive producers Jeff Kwatinetz, Martin Lawrence, Rodney M. Liber, Arnon Milchan.
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox

For those already sick of summer action films, how a none too funny fix of fat jokes and flatulence?

In "Big Momma's House" Martin Lawrence plays FBI agent Malcolm Turner - a seeming master of disguise who is sent to stake out the home of a, shall we say, portly Southern woman in hopes that her granddaughter Sherry (Nia Long), wanted in connection with a bank robbery, will show up. After the woman, the titular "Big Momma" leaves town, Lawrence is forced to go under-under cover. Donning a fat suit, a wig and a ton or two of latex skin Lawrence poses as Big Momma in an effort to get Sherry and her son to confide in him about the robbery and the whereabouts of Sherry's estranged husband who has just escaped from prison. However, things get complicated (as they so often do) when Malcolm begins to fall for Sherry and must take on dual roles as Big Momma and himself.

Aside from a few sub-low brow moments of humor, "Big Momma's House" is a big dud. Seemingly spawned from the popularity of the equally unfortunate remake of "The Nutty Professor", the film is little more than a smoke and mirrors (or in this case a rubber face and padding) attempt at cheap laughs. The whole thing, from concept to script to screen, seems rushed and sloppy and something we have all seen a thousand times (and hopefully won't see again).

Lawrence has done a good job in recent years of transforming himself from a once raunchy stand up comedian to a more toned down and likable performer however, and while he is a funny guy the gimmick here is the makeup and the fat suit. All jokes are either in the ilk of fatness or the quirks associated with people form the South. It could be anyone in that suit and makeup and the movie wouldn't be any more or any less funny and the casting of brilliant character actor Paul Giamatti (who was brilliant as an irate radio exec in Howard Stern's "Private Parts") in the throwaway role of second fiddle to a guy in a fat suit, is a sheer waste of his talent.

While some may find humor in the cartoon-like silliness of the proceedings, "Big Momma's House" seems to be little more than an easy cash in for the all involved. A fat suit with a paper-thin plot does not a movie make.

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