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Movie Review

Since going deep undercover as a heavy-set elderly woman known as Big Momma, FBI agent Malcolm Turner has married lovely single mom Sherrie (now extremely pregnant with their first child) and traded in his disguises for a safer role in the bureau's public relations department. But when his former partner turns up dead, Malcolm takes it upon himself to find answers.

It seems someone is pressuring Tom Fuller, the designer of a deadly computer "worm," to surrender the coveted program, which would compromise critical government intelligence files. To get close to Fuller, Malcolm once again dons the guise of his matronly alter-ego and plays nanny to Fuller's three children. The result is an occasionally crass cops-and-robbers comedy seasoned with messages about family togetherness.


Positive Elements

Pressured to help international terrorists, Tom Fuller only cooperates because he cares so deeply about his family's safety. We learn that his workaholism was inherited from his own father, and that Tom recognizes the need to break that cycle. It's heartbreaking to hear a young girl say that the main reason she's trying to become a cheerleader is that if she's really good it will give her a way to connect with her dad. Likewise, Tom's Type-A wife has the children's lives so structured and full of activities that Big Momma contends, "You ... keep 'em so busy that they don't realize you and your husband are never around." As Big Momma, Malcolm also gives the family's rebellious 15-year-old a dose of reality about the games guys play in dating relationships, and rescues a little boy from his own reckless behavior.

Big Momma comforts a young girl and tells a punked-out teen to call if she's ever in trouble. When that call comes at an inopportune moment, Malcolm keeps his promise and rushes to her aid (an act that pays multiple dividends). He also puts the children's interests first when their father faces possible arrest. In a farewell letter to the family, Big Momma reminds them all that "lovin' people is hard work," but worth it. Along the way, Malcolm's duties as a nanny help him develop a more domestic side, which promises to serve him well as he prepares to assist his wife in raising their new baby.

Spiritual Content

Big Momma's observations and nuggets of wisdom occasionally reference the Lord ("You got a mean streak in you, and God don't like ugly"; "Laughter is God's hand on a troubled world"). Playing the part and emphasizing Momma's spiritual side, Malcolm asks to be dropped off at a church that turns out to be a Jewish temple.

Sexual Content

This will be the biggest rub for many families. Characters make sly remarks about seeing others (real or photographed) in the buff. For example, reminded about his pledge to be more of a family man, Malcolm tells Sherrie, "To be fair, you were naked when most of those promises were made." He's also not above peeking at nude women when visiting a spa as Big Momma. Milling around in underwear or less are a bunch of Victoria's Secret models who ask for the secret to a long marriage. "Put out!" Big Momma says before prescribing daily sexual activity ("and twice on Saturdays"). One of the ladies bares her breasts to Big Momma, asking for help with her brassiere.

Malcolm's fat suit generates numerous remarks about breast size. Jokes allude to nipples, thongs and venereal disease. A buxom nanny wannabe (referred to by her bra size) gets accused of contributing to the divorce of her last employers by sunbathing nude. Big Momma accidentally tears the bikini tops off a group of women left to cover their breasts. A class of young schoolgirls attempts to dance to the racy song "Baby Got Back." Big Momma later instructs them that dancing starts not in the heart but "in the butt." A final cheerleading performance includes suggestive moves that would be inappropriate for high schoolers, much less preteens. Sexualized grinding occurs in a dance club.

Violent Content

In the opening scene a man gets shot and dumped in the river. Bad guys threaten to kill Tom's family. A dog is despondent after witnessing the death of his canine companion in a wood-chipper accident (a tragic tale related in non-explicit terms). A woman socks Tom in the face twice. A runaway jetski crashes into villains. Big Momma knocks a guy down while commandeering a motor scooter. He decks a terrorist with punches and kicks, then smashes another in the face with a board. Agents and criminals exchange gunfire.

Crude or Profane Language

Nearly two-dozen TV-grade profanities ("h---," "d--n," "a--," "my god"), but in spite of the PG-13 rating, there's nothing one wouldn't hear in the average prime-time sitcom.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Noticing a burn mark on a woman's finger, Big Momma sings a fractured rendition of "Pass the Dutchie" while accusing her of smoking marijuana. Malcolm talks about "drinking a 40" and gives a depressed Chihuahua alcohol. Later we see the pooch hopped up on tequila. A drunken woman picks a fight and passes out.

Other Negative Elements

Younger children may decide to imitate the foolish behavior of the Fullers' preschool-age son (eating sand and a Brillo pad, swan-diving face-first onto the floor from heights). Deception comes easy to Malcolm, whether playing a character undercover or lying to his wife about his whereabouts. Gambling is an issue when Big Momma takes the family to a Bingo parlor (the crowd includes intense players). Using FBI acronyms, an agent appears to be confessing to a public bowel movement. Agents on a stakeout encounter dog flatulence.


Big Momma's House 2 isn't awful, but it is lazy and clichéd. Even its homilies on family ties, while appreciated, feel cribbed. The fat jokes are tiresome, as are the stereotypes of grandmotherly black women who adore Oprah, lust after Billy Dee Williams and invoke the name of Al Sharpton at the faintest hint of racial discrimination. There's not a funny, original idea in sight. The familiar story seems to be cobbled together from other movies (Mrs. Doubtfire, The Pacifier, White Chicks, Uncle Buck, etc.) and asks viewers to suspend disbelief in a big way when we see Malcolm in and out of full-body prosthetics that he supposedly applies himself in the time it takes most people to change out of church clothes.

I did a little research. This is what the transformation process actually entailed, according to Twentieth Century Fox: "Each day, Lawrence underwent an hour and 45 minute makeup session, where two makeup artists meticulously glued the overlapping mask pieces onto his face, blended them seamlessly together, then painted the skin tones and finished it all off with beauty makeup. The makeup was worn all day, and after a 30-minute removal at the end of the day, these mask pieces were thrown away. A new set was then prepped to be applied to the actor the next morning."

And that's just from the neck up. While this isn't a moral issue, it's one example of the inauthentic relationship between the filmmakers and the audience. They do what they want to do regardless of whether it makes logical sense, which some viewers will simply find insulting beyond the mild profanity, plastered Chihuahua and half-dressed lingerie models.

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