What does Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, and Martin Lawrence all have in common? They've all played women that require loads of makeup. Cheers to Murphy and Lawrence especially for taken on the bigger loads, because by the title, you can tell that Big Momma's House doesn't have Lawrence dressing up as a slender housewife.
Lawrence brings his funny antics to the screen once more, acting as a crude-mouthed, overweight grandmother who's daughter (or niece) is on the run from a deadly criminal. He's FBI, of course, and has his more hesitant partner John (Paul Giamatti) along for the ride. Comedy ensues as Lawrence tries to keep undercover and tries to hide his true feelings towards Sherry (Nia Long).
Big Momma's House is nothing we haven't seen before in some form or another. A lot of the antics are similar to those in Mrs. Doubtfire. Of course, Lawrence sizes up when faced with situations like beating a group of teens at basketball and taking down a self defense teacher. They're funny, but not that funny. There are a lot of scenes that produce quick tidbits of laughter and then die off after the joke has been completed. However, there are a few scenes that really made me cringe in laughter, one of which being the shower scene where the real Big Momma is shown nude from the backside. Yuck.
Martin Lawrence is the real winner in Big Momma's House. His persona, his facial expressions (his upper face is the only part that sticks out through most of the movie), and his voice really work. He has a lot of the same stuff he had in the underachiever Bluestreak, only works it a lot better. He seems more relaxed this time, maybe because he doesn't really have a major male co-star to work with.
Big Momma's House has a few big laughs and a lot of small laughs, and while it might not be as good as it could have been, Martin Lawrence keeps things moving in the right direction.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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