Making the Grades
When the FBI discovers a dangerous bank robber has escaped prison, agents Malcolm (Martin Lawrence) and John (Paul Giamatti) are put on the case. Their only lead is the crook's former girlfriend, Sherry (Nia Long) who is still under suspicion from the last heist when her boyfriend robbed the bank where she worked. Hearing of the prison break, she leaves the city with her young son to stay with her Southern grandmother, known as Big Momma.
Staking out Big Momma's house from across the street, Malcolm and John learn that she is leaving town to care for a sick friend. Knowing that they could lose Sherry if Big Momma isn't home, Malcolm, a supposed master of disguise, decides to impersonate the grandma, and devises a mask and body suit that will give him the well-rounded personality he requires. In just a few hours, Sherry arrives at the door with Big Momma greeting her.
To find this film funny, you must leave all reason at the box office. Lawrence's portrayal of the stereotypical overweight Southern African-American is hardly convincing. With his voice wavering between a high-pitched drawl and his normal tone, he doesn't sound like Ella Mitchell (who momentarily plays the "real" Big Momma), nor does he look like her. But when her friends buy into this phony replacement, I was convinced the entire little town was in need of glasses and hearing aids.
Of course sexual innuendo increases along with Malcolm's attraction toward Sherry; the most prominent moment taking place when they are in bed together during a bad storm and Big Momma explains the protrusion Sherry feels under the sheets is a flashlight. Another earlier scene treats us to the real Big Momma having a noisy bowel movement while Malcolm hides in the shower. When Momma undresses (we see this from the rear) and gets into the shower, Malcolm escapes out the other side.
Directed by Raja Gosnell, who edited Mrs. Doubtfire and the Home Alone series (except for the last one, which he directed), we shouldn't be surprised with the lack of originality in this multiple crotch-kicking movie.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Big Momma’s House.
While this movie is intended to be laughable, in a backhanded way it pokes fun at overweight people. What types of personalities do overweight characters typically have in movies? How many obese actors and actresses can you think of?