Big Momma's House

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Big Momma's House

A ramshackle, mercenary cross between Stakeout and Eddie Murphy's The Nutty Professor, Big Momma's House stars Martin Lawrence as a buppie FBI agent who goes undercover as a sassy, big-boned Southern grandmother to catch an exceedingly smooth criminal played by The Best Man's Terrence Howard. Along the way, Lawrence wins the hearts and minds of the real big momma's (Ella Mitchell) friends, family, and lover, none of whom seem to notice her instant transformation from a sassy, mean-spirited crank into a loving, gentle matriarch. Those who bewilderingly chastised Lawrence's last high-concept vehicle, Blue Streak, for betraying the troubled comic's (nonexistent) subversive edge should be unhappy to find that his latest is twice as calculated and half as entertaining. Murphy's The Nutty Professor mined a similar vein of fat-suit-oriented scatological humor, but under Murphy's costume was a smart, sympathetic, multi-dimensional human being who just happened to be staggeringly overweight. In sharp contrast, when Lawrence dons his surprisingly cheap-looking and unconvincing big-momma outfit here, he never seems like anything other than Martin Lawrence in a grotesque fat suit. Lawrence famously lapsed into a coma preparing for this film, and while there's something to be said for suffering for your art, suffering for such a generic waste of time is another matter entirely.

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