Butt first ...
Big Momma's House
Review by Ross Anthony

Big laughs counter-balanced by big misses, these paired yard dogs roam unleashed in this sometimes inspired, often not, Martin Lawrence picture. Heavily carrying its excess weight, the film feels as awkwardly unwieldy as Martin's fleshy new body must feel to him.

Martin is supposed to be a tough cop, content only if his life is on the line. His partner, the bug-eyed wimpy guy, does a Don Knotts bang up job. Terrence Howard, who's acting talents are completely underused here, plays a cold-blooded killer and escaped convict looking to link up with his girlfriend. The girlfriend/suspected accomplice (Nia long) takes off to the southern comfort of childhood nanny, Big Momma. Hence Martin is forced to gain a few pounds as well as a couple of "yard dogs" around the chest area in hopes of tricking the girlfriend into spilling the beans to him (her?) before the boyfriend catches up.

It's a goofy enough plot, but aside from a few juicy knee-slappers, the film tends to drag its large butt with simply uninspired humor, and burnt pork chop jokes. The awkwardly bent resolution is contrived to end at the desired angle.

Done well: The nicely directed birthing sequence. Credit is due in a large part to the expectant mother who really "delivers!" Also, what's a good southern comedy without an arm-waving, gospel-singing, Baptist church scene? "Big Momma" rises to the occasion.

I'm a big fan of Martin, even a fan of a big Martin, but I need more real heart than this. Though there are gorgeously funny parts, the blatantly not-funny ones wouldn't allow my funny bone to resonate at length.

  • Big Momma's House. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Martin Lawrence, Nia Long, Paul Giamatti, Terrence Howard, Ella Mitchell, Jascha Washington, Anthony Anderson.
  • Directed by Raja Gosnell.
  • Written by Darryl Quarles.
  • Produced by David T. Friendly, Michael Green at Regency/20th Century Fox.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:08 PDT