Big Momma's House

Stupidity is the entire concept behind Big Momma's House. The script is stupid, the humor is stupid, the characters are stupid, and it will probably make lots of money. Martin Lawrence (Life, Blue Streak) seems to be attempting to emulate Eddie Murphy in a Stakeout/Nutty Professor combination movie, which also mixes in a little of Mrs. Doubtfire (including the same make-up artist). Whether or not this is intentional is unlikely, but people will notice. Lawrence, sadly, does not have the comedic presence of Murphy. At best, Lawrence's humor (and personal life) is erratic, sometimes bordering on genius, most of the time lame.

Big Momma's House opens with a completely random scene that serves only to show that Malcolm Turner (Lawrence) is a master of disguise (he's Korean, funny right? NO). The real story begins when Lester (Terrence Howard, The Best Man, Best Laid Plans) escapes from prison. It seems that he stole a large sum of money a couple of years ago, money that still has not been found. His girlfriend Sherry (Nia Long, Boiler Room, The Best Man) was suspected of helping Lester, but nothing concrete ever emerged. Turner and partner John (Paul Giamatti, Man on the Moon, Cradle Will Rock) stake out Sherry's grandmother's house, on the chance that Sherry will flee there.

Another idiotic but necessary plot contrivance sends Sherry's grandmother, Big Momma, out of town just as Sherry arrives. What to do? Turner steps in posing as Big Momma, trying to ascertain whether Sherry is actually guilty, while falling in love with her. The rest of Darryl Quarles' and Don Rhymer's script is basically Big Momma kicking butt at basketball, Big Momma leading the church choir, Big Momma delivering a baby, and other lame sketches. Quarles and Rhymer both have extensive experience writing for television sitcoms, which shows in Big Momma's House. The sad part about this film is that the entire community is apparently too dumb to know that Big Momma is actually someone else. The costume looks great, but "Big Momma" looks different, and acts different too. Turner is not much of a cop either, bumbling his way through most of the situations.

Director Raja Gosnell (with equally impressive credits such as Home Alone 3 and Never Been Kissed) does a good job with Lawrence of making a comedy boring. There are few, if any laughs in Big Momma's House. Many of the so-called gags are derivative of other (funnier) movies (the toilet scene from American Pie, the window scene from Happy, Texas, ...). It's sad watching good actors like Long and even Giamatti waste their time. Lawrence's antics and tendency to play multiple roles had its moments in his sitcom Martin, but that was only half an hour. Here, Lawrence plays one role for probably close to an hour, which quickly becomes boring.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude humor including sexual innuendo, and for language and some violence.

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