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FBI agent Malcolm Turner is known best for being a brilliant, master of disguise. Malcolm's latest assignment sends him to small-town Georgia, where he's assigned to trap a brutal bank robber (and a recent prison escapee) who they suspect will be coming down to visit his ex-girlfriend Sherry and her son. Malcolm sets up a stakeout across from the home of a larger-than-life southern matriarch known as Big Momma, who's about to be visited by Sherry. It's a simple plan, but there's one big problem: Unbeknownst to Sherry, Big Momma has unexpectedly left town. So Malcolm, decides to impersonate the cantankerous Southern granny. Using a few tricks of disguise, he completely transforms himself into Big Momma, even taking on the corpulent septuagenarian's everyday routine-from cooking soul food to delivering babies to "testifying" at the local church. In the mean time, Malcolm starts falling for Sherry, who may or may not be hiding some stolen cash. Now, Malcolm/Big Momma must somehow find a ... Written by
Offers exactly what we expect from this kind of movie; nothing new here. **1/2 out of ****
BIG MAMMA'S HOUSE / (2000) **1/2 out of ****
"Big Mamma's House" offers exactly what you would expect in a comedy featuring Martin Lawrence dressing up as an old, grossly obese granny; this is a one-joke movie in which an undercover cop disguises himself as Big Mamma and participates in things we anticipate Big Mamma normally would not do. There are some big laughs involved with the size of the title character, as well as her with breasts, attitude, sexuality, and ignorance, but there are also some obvious audience pleasers that feel contrived. Although the make-up effects are astonishing and amusing, there are no surprises found within this material. We have already seen this film's punch line in better parodies like "Some Like It Hot," "Tootsie," and "Mrs. Doubtfire." This movie is predictable, over-enthusiastic, and does not take off with its ideas.
Martin Lawrence stars as a cop named Malcolm, who, with his partner John (Paul Giamatti), is assigned to investigate the jail bust of a convicted criminal named Laster (Terrence Dashon Howard). They suspect the murderer is after his ex-girlfriend, Sherry (Nia Long), and her son Trent (Jascha Washington), who may unknowingly own the stolen loot of a bank heist years ago. Sherry is somewhat aware of the danger she may be in, thus moves immediately to her relative's house, whom everyone calls Big Mamma (Ella Mitchell). Before Sherry arrives, however, Big Mamma leaves town for an engagement. John and Malcolm see potential involved with Big Mamma, thus they determine that having Malcolm go undercover as this character might originate information on Sherry's involvement with Laster's criminal actions.
Martin Lawrence, reprising his "Blue Streak" character, is perfect for the fast talking Mamma in which he disguises himself. The actor is in nearly every scene and is basically what the movie structures upon: one excessive comic situation after another featuring the concealed Malcolm participating in activities from karate class to a joyful church service and from the kitchen baking goodies to sleeping with the unknowing Sherry. Lawrence makes the movie succeed to the level that it does, however, his high spirits and willing energy only carry the film so far. It is only a matter of time before he wares out his welcome and becomes the only thing holding the story together.
The film does not stay focused on the plot of Laster attempting to reach Sherry; if a comedy makes the misconception to take its plot seriously, then it requires consistence. Here, although the setup contains potential, the only tension involved is when Sherry will discover her Big Mamma is an undercover cop. Essentially the movie's story is just an excuse to have Martin Lawrence play a funny character who does funny things.
The film's director is Raja Gosnell, whose "Never Been Kissed" and "Home Alone 3" provided trifling laughs, just like "Big Mamma's House" does. In this film, he and screenwriters Darryl Quarles and Don Rhymer attempt to do too much with too little like developing a romantic subplot that feels trite and predictable. No matter how much make-up or covering the filmmakers provide for their characters, beyond an occasional laugh there is simply nothing new here.
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