Making the Grades
Is it a continuation of the bathroom humor and sexual innuendo of the first movie? Or is it a family comedy?
These are questions that should have been asked by the executives bankrolling this film. Yet, considering the studio's reluctance to provide critics with pre-screenings, and the fact the film grossed over $20 million on its opening weekend, Big Momma's House 2 has already done the job it was sent to your local theater to accomplish. In short order, it will be a shiny DVD, anxious to make some big momma dollars in its home video life. However, these two questions are very important from a parenting point of view because this movie presents a classic example of creators failing to understand family audiences.
Like the original House movie from 2000, this outing features Martin Lawrence playing FBI agent Malcolm Turner. Now married to Sherry (Nia Long), who we met in the first film, he has taken on a much safer desk job in the agency's PR department. Yet when he hears his former partner has been killed, Turner can't stop himself from getting into the action. Going against the orders of both his superior and wife, he drags Big Momma out from under the bed, and sets off to crack the case.
Donning the bulky latex costume, he (she) shows up at the Fuller residence, home of the primary suspect, Tom Fuller (Mark Moses). Fortunately, Tom's wife Leah (Emily Procter) is interviewing for a nanny to care for her three children, and Big Momma bulldozes her way through the application process. Of course, he/she is hired, but soon discovers this gig isn't just about police work. To be convincing as Big Momma, he's faced with juggling music lessons, meals, laundry, and dirty diapers with a trio of kids ranging from tender toddler to trying teen.
Where this sequel departs from its parent is in its general tone, which is now written and delivered in a way most akin to an eight-year-old's mentality. Contrived moments allow Lawrence's stuffed character to clown it up when he helps the middle-school daughter learn some new cheerleading moves, as well as providing some sensitive family time when the teen daughter discovers Big Momma knows a few things about boys. Not bad fodder for families.
However, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the script switches personalities faster than Lawrence can get in and out of his fat suit (which is, quite literally, unbelievably fast). The film opens with a body being dumped into a river and later shows another suspect graphically falling to his death. Also, many sexual comments from various characters are heard. However, the scene most probably to have parents scrambling to take young viewers to the concession stand is a day at the spa. While there, Big Momma excitedly verbalizes his love of watching women lying around naked (we see them in towels) and is asked by one pathetic patron to undo her front-closing bra because her nail polish is wet.
Teeter-tottering between PG and PG-13, Big Momma's House 2 will likely disappoint because it is too juvenile for adults seeking Lawrence's humor, and too adult for families with juveniles.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Big Momma’s House 2.
The children in this film are portrayed as unable to get enough time with their parents. Why do you think situations like these are so often depicted in movies? Do you think hiring a nanny would make their problem better or worse? What solutions might you suggest?
This movie includes a stunt scene involving a Segway Human Transporter. For more information on this usual device, check segway.com.