Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son John Whitesell

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son John Whitesell
"I'm gonna hide you," says Martin Lawrence to his son (Brandon T. Jackson) after the latter witnesses a murder early in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. Incredulous, Jackson replies, in a way that practically nudges the audience in the ribs that some cross-dressing shenanigans are about to ensue, "How?" As if answering this pertinent but one-must-assume semi-rhetorical question on behalf of Mr. Lawrence, the filmmakers cut straight to our heroes decked out in a grotesque fat-suit and padded knickers, respectively, not even bothering to explain how they acquired these garments or whether Jackson needed any further persuading. Is this the same suit Lawrence wore in the original Big Momma's House (2000), culled from a dusty box in the attic? If so, it's remarkably well-preserved ― you'd think all that rubber and felt might show some signs of rot after 11 years, but no. This is the first multi-generational entry in the Big Momma's House cycle ― the cinematic equivalent of a tired sitcom introducing a long-lost cousin in season nine ― but even this gimmicky new angle can't save a franchise so weary that the very idea of two men hiding in ridiculous drag is treated by the filmmakers as a given, not a novelty. The story involves Lawrence and Jackson hiding at an all-girls boarding school, which should tell you all you need to know. Scholars of the Big Momma saga will note that Jackson has inherited Lawrence's horn dog tendencies, cooing in libidinous ecstasy whenever he finds himself at a girls' sleepover party or a nude modelling art class, and Lawrence has been recast as a puritanical father (mother?) figure. Otherwise, it's the same old same old, with the only suspense coming from how long it will take a man to hit on Big Momma (40 minutes) and whether or not he/she will dance on a table until it collapses (spoiler alert: he/she does). I found the whole thing damn near unwatchable, but if the prospect of yet another Big Momma adventure still appeals to you, rest assured that this will give you everything you expect. Lawrence is conspicuously absent from the dull cast and crew commentary, where everyone sounds a lot more confident about their work than they should. The DVD also includes deleted scenes and an extended cut, but forgive me if I opted for the already lengthy 107-minute theatrical version. (Fox)