I never had a big momma growing up. My mother and each of my grandmothers were never what I would call big. My mom and her mom barely cleared 5 feet tall and my grandma on my dad’s side while pretty tall was very wiry and thin. So I never had the huge momma experience and it was probably for the best. However, I am not foreign to the concept of Martin Lawrence playing a Big Momma as I saw the first movie. Two movies later, does it still have its magic?
Malcolm Turner (played by Martin Lawrence) is a FBI agent who specializes in the art of disguise and witness protection. But today, he is threatening his local mailman (played by Ken Jeong) to pull the postal vehicle over. Eventually he does and then the two get into a fight because the mailman has to deliver the mail. Malcolm gets the letter he was looking for. His son has just been accepted to go to the school he went as young adult, Duke University.
His boy is none other than Trent (played by Brandon T Jackson), the Prodi-G. Trent is not interested in school too much, he is more interested in the ladies and his passion to rap. However, a performance in the park comes quickly to a close when Malcolm busts in and pulls the plug (literally). The two debate about his acceptance to Duke and Trent would rather go on tour to show off his rapping. However, Malcolm will not sign the parental release for his son to go on tour. Education first.
But there isn’t any time to talk further because Malcolm has to go and set up a sting to catch one of the FBI’s most wanted. Using a witness named Canetti (played by Max Casella) as bait, he sends him into hostile waters. However, before any of that happens, Malcolm is supposed to receive a very important flash drive that will have all of the information he needs to put away his very special criminal. The criminal mastermind is Chirkoff (played by Tony Curran).
However, Canetti did not bring the real flash drive with him but will reveal the location once the mission is over. But when Canetti meets with Chirkoff, the criminal mastermind almost immediately detects that stoolie is wearing a wire. But an interesting scene is developing back at the surveillance vehicle. Trent has gotten the bright idea that if he goes to Malcolm’s “work”, he can force his dad to sign the release so he can go out on tour.
As they argue, Malcolm hears that Chirkoff wants him to come out and play so to speak. Canetti is shot and stumbles around as Malcolm tries to thwart the criminals. Canetti falls down and sees Trent hiding in a corner as he mumbles about the location of the flash drive. Chrikoff comes around, shoots Canetti again and then sees Trent around the corner. Malcolm eventually comes in to make the save and they are able to get away but now the bad guys know exactly who they are.
After the two re-group and assemble their information, Malcolm comes to the conclusion that the drive is hidden somewhere in the Georgia Girl’s School of the Arts. He also needs to hide Trent until they can come forth with the information. Malcolm suddenly gets the bright idea that it is time to don the disguise of Big Momma. But Malcolm is not the only one who will have to become somebody else if they expect to infiltrate the girl’s school. As it turns out, young Trent will have to become a big lady too to stay hidden.
So off they go to the girl’s school. First, it takes some work to get both of them admitted. Trent goes in as a student, Charmaine Daisy Pierce. Malcolm is Big Momma but she takes over as a den mother. The principal, Gail (played by Ana Ortiz) is a little nervous but works it all out. Now that the two guys are inside, will they be able to keep their cover and find the information they need? Chrikoff needs to be put away and there is little time to waste.
One would think that Martin Lawrence as funny as he was on his own tv show and several movies would have more of a calling card than doing a granny fat suit and acting very similar to Madea in those Tyler Perry movies. Except, Madea is funnier. But that is not really the point, Martin is there to solve crimes and hand out life lessons. Yeah, hand out life lessons, because a FBI Agent knows what to say to young girls who are becoming women. It probably does not help that we have a bunch of stereotypes for the girls.
There is the Asian girl who can’t drive, a ballerina who does not eat and they all, get this, like to sing in the cafeteria or do a dance number while they are styling their hair. What is this? Grease? Jessica Lucas turns out a fair performance as Haley Robinson, Trent’s love interest but somehow she got into a school for the arts despite being very insecure about her music skills. It is confusing and frustrating at the same time.
There are a few jokes to be had. Honestly, I did chuckle a few times. But if I hear “Lyrical Miracle” one more time and the people around them act like that is a clever phrase, I’m going to slap somebody. The film honestly is supposed to revolve more around Brandon’s character than Big Momma. But the main issue is that Brandon (at least in this performance) can not hold up the stage at all. We usually have to wait for Martin to provide us a laugh or move the picture along.
The video is in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation in 1080p resolution. The picture is very good, to the point where we can see the flaws in Martin’s makeup. Seriously, if he is passing for a woman even in that getup somebody needs their eyes checked. The power of blu-ray kids. Anyway, color is good and as mentioned above there is a great deal of detail. It is one of the better looking recent comedy films on the format.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD audio track (also included is 5.1 English Descriptive, 5.1 Dolby Digital French and Spanish). “It is a lyrical miracle”. I’m telling you next time, somebody is getting hurt. Music (or rather rapping and what is akin to showtunes) is at the forefront and has a good volume. Dialog is very clear, I did not have to fiddle with my remote once. Surrounds are decently used and overall it is above average for the type and age of the film. Subtitles are included for English SDH and French.
- Automatic Trailers: Digital Copy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Gulliver’s Travels and Cedar Rapids
- Audio Commentary by Director John Whitesell, Producer David T. Friendly, and Actors Brandon T. Jackson, Jessica Lucas, and Portia Doubleday: Available for the theatrical version only, this commentary has its good and bad moments. They do explain a lot of the scenes including locales and how they shot certain things. John and David keep the commentary on track as the actors sometimes go south (but Portia does a good job when she actually talks). Strangely, I found that at times they forgot certain secondary actors or where they did certain things. But there is no dead space I could really find and the commentary is pretty decent.
- Deleted Scenes 11:44: Seven scenes are included here. This is mostly filler but we get more of Portia Doubleday (played Jasmine the ballerina) and even a little more rapping from Brandon. The extended version was already very long so it is easy to see why this additional stuff was cut too.
- Song and Dance: Momma Style 5:47: This featurette centers on the various musical numbers in the movie. They go over choreography and how fun it was to produce the individual numbers. The creators mention they were going for a modern feel, but honestly a lot of this had an old school feel. We do get about five seconds of Martin talking candidly too.
- Bigger Busts Countdown 9:46: Well, I will ignore the perverted side of me and just mention this is a highlight reel of Martin’s best moments from the Big Momma series. To be expected, this is dominated by the first movie, but this selection of ten moments is actually a good selection. I do remember how much I liked the first one which was some good comedy.
- Gag Reel 2:18: Decent selection of gags and some fun moments especially from Martin. Very short though.
- Baby You Know Music Video 3:25: OH OH, OH OH. Repeat that about 570 times and you have the song. Jessica has a nice voice, I’m not discounting her at all. However, the song is horrid. Oh, Woh, Oh, Oh. *snore*
- Lyrical Miracle: Extended Music Video 2:51: Sweet jesus. Okay, that’s it. *kick, punch, slap, body slam, flying elbow off the top*. Seriously, I got nothing to say. *sigh*
- Theatrical Trailer 2:00: Decent trailer, it is a shame that the movie fell short of those expectations.
- DVD: The combo package includes a dvd with both versions of the film.
- Digital Copy: The package also includes a digital copy for those who need the capability.
I sometimes wonder if Martin Lawrence has went the way of Wesley Snipes, Eddie Murphy, and a few other popular actors who used to have lucrative movie careers only to be type cast and spend their time in direct to video or box office flops. Martin is not there quite yet. But judging from this latest Big Momma film, he certainly needs to retire this character and move on to new ventures. Sure, this film still turned a profit but it only did so because Martin took a paycut and they made it for as cheap as humanly possible.
Despite the limited laughs in this movie, the blu-ray/dvd combo package has excellent video and audio while boasting a very decent extras section. Fans of the series will probably be satisfied with this third entry and be glad to add it to their collection. For the rest who are looking for a decent comedy with Martin might go out and seek the first film. Not recommended unless one knows what they are exactly in for.