Eric D. Snider

Big Momma's House 2

If you thought "Big Momma's House" was funny, then two things are probably true: 1) You are stupid. 2) You will also think "Big Momma's House 2" is funny.

I'm sorry, that was harsh. I hope you'll forgive my rudeness. Not that it's any excuse, but I've been going through a bit of a rough patch in my life lately, and that's probably what caused that outburst.

What sort of rough patch, you ask? Oh, nothing. I don't want to burden you with it.

Well, OK, if you insist.

I JUST WATCHED "BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2," THAT'S WHAT!

Man, what a pile of garbage this thing is. I normally only fill one page of my notebook during a movie, but this one required two, because I decided to write down every major plot point that was illogical, irrational or ludicrous.

Martin Lawrence returns as FBI agent Malcolm Turner, who has taken a desk job while his wife Sherry (Nia Long) is pregnant (with perhaps the most hilariously fake belly I have ever seen). But when an agent is killed while working undercover, Malcolm wants back in the field so he can finish the case. Obviously, this will require him to dress up like an old fat woman.

You remember from "Big Momma's House" how Malcolm used a latex body suit to impersonate an obese old widow for a sting operation. For some reason, though six years have passed, he still has the Momma outfit in his closet, and he gets a brilliant idea: The FBI is about to send an agent into a suspect's home, posing as his children's nanny. If "Momma" shows up at the house and takes the job instead, Malcolm can work the case himself!

Now, why does Malcolm have to do this? Why not let a field agent handle it? Because then there wouldn't be a movie, silly.

Big Momma shows up at the home of the Fullers, plays the race card to ensure she gets an interview, then somehow gets hired over three other applicants despite having neither a resume nor references. Then, in the tradition of bad comedies about law enforcement officers, once Malcolm is successfully undercover, he makes no effort whatsoever to fit in. A good agent would try to do a GOOD job as a nanny, of course, to avoid suspicion. But Malcolm as Big Momma throws the laundry in the garbage and gives the dog tequila. Why? Because there's no humor in being a good nanny, duh.

Malcolm tells his wife he's going to a conference in Phoenix. Why not tell her the truth, that he's going undercover? Because then we wouldn't have the stupid subplot where she thinks he's having an affair -- a subplot the movie forgets about after 45 minutes anyway.

The Fullers have three children. The 2-year-old doesn't speak yet, which means Big Momma will eventually coax some words out of him. The 12-year-old girl wants to be a cheerleader, which means Big Momma will help her out with some funky dance moves and perhaps save the day at the big cheer competition. The teenage girl is going through a rebellious phase, which means Big Momma will be her friend and confidante and set her straight. And the mother is an over-achiever who keeps the kids on a tight schedule, which means Big Momma will teach her to lighten up.

In other words, Big Momma is a Messiah figure, a guardian who can do no wrong, a benevolent creature whose every action, no matter how unorthodox, illegal or senseless, turns out to be exactly the right thing to have done. In the end, we are meant to be awed by Malcolm/Momma's resourcefulness, insight and overall coolness.

It didn't work on me, though. I kept thinking: This movie isn't funny. These situations are old and tired and obvious. The only reason any of it is supposed to be humorous is that Big Momma doesn't act like an old lady; she acts like Martin Lawrence.

There's a scene where Mrs. Fuller takes Big Momma to a day spa, and Big Momma gets a massage. And I thought: What is that masseuse rubbing, exactly? The latex-covered foam padding that feels nothing like human skin? Does the masseuse not have any feeling in her fingers?

In another scene, Big Momma goes to the beach and wears a swimsuit. And I thought: Why would Malcolm bother to get a full-body latex fatsuit? Wouldn't it have been about a thousand times easier to just get enough for his arms and lower legs, knowing the rest of him would always be covered by a dress? Did he ANTICIPATE that Big Momma would go to the beach? (He must have, I guess; he had a giant swimsuit on hand, too.)

In another scene, Big Momma uses the 2-year-old's dirty diaper as an excuse to get past Fuller's secretary and into his private office, because he has a bathroom in there. But it's a big corporation in a fancy office building; surely there's a restroom for general employees somewhere else on the floor. Surely the secretary didn't need to let Big Momma use the boss's personal one.

Later, the FBI, now aware of Malcolm's participation as Big Momma, brings in an expert hacker to get past Fuller's computer password. The hacker's contribution is to feed Big Momma personal questions for her to ask Fuller, in the hopes that knowing where he was born, where he went to college, etc., will help them guess his password. For this they needed a hacker? To make guesses? Geez, I could do that, and probably for less than the hacker was charging.

With a by-the-numbers screenplay by Don Rhymer (writer of the first film, too) and charmless direction by John Whitesell ("See Spot Run"), the movie takes an unconvincing premise, applies untenable logic to it, and then strews idiocy through every simple-minded scene. It's actually impressive how bad it is.

Grade: F

Rated PG-13, a little mild profanity, some innuendo and vulgarity

1 hr., 39 min.

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