Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (review)

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Big Momma is back, the question is: Why? In the name of all that is decent and thoughtful and pleasant, why? Was there some nuance of humor and commentary on the human condition to be found in an idiotic actor dressing up in an old-lady fatsuit that had not already been fully explored in Big Momma’s House and Big Momma’s House 2? Of course not, because those films bothered not with such matters in the first place. I generously presume that all involved here are self-aware enough to feel remorseful when cashing their paychecks, and surely had to have been cognizant of what utter dreck they were flailing around in, but that only raises more questions, such as: Have they no shame? Martin Lawrence’s (Death at a Funeral) FBI agent once again goes undercover as “Big Momma” — other characters actually call her that, and no one appears to believe this odd; then again, they entirely fail to notice that she appears to be Martin Lawrence in an awful makeup job, wearing a dreadful wig. Joining him this time is his 17-year-old stepson (Brandon T. Jackson: Lottery Ticket), a feat made dismissingly easy because fatsuits that unconvincingly turn rangy teenaged boys into plump teenaged girls are readily available for sale at your local shopping mall. The duo are hiding out from bad guys in an all-girls’ art school, where a vital piece of evidence may also be hidden. Coincidences such as the school’s sudden need for a new house mother are easily cast aside in the face of the film’s overt misogyny, which posits that human females are mysterious, even alien creatures who regularly engage in such rituals as “jumping around in their negligees” and casually disrobing in front of one another: If only men really knew what women get up to! John Whitesell doesn’t so much direct the movie as throw a juvenile cinematic tantrum, yet one that — in the most bizarrely self-contradictory way — believes it is demonstrating a worldly wisdom about revealing secrets of womanhood to which only he is privy. I wonder if Whitesell has actually ever met a woman.

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