Double your pleasure, does not necessarily translate to double your fun.
Look, if you’re going into Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son – the third installment of the franchise – expecting comedic greatness and/or anything substantial in the story, you will be letdown cause it’s just not happening. That isn’t to say this 107 minute money-grabbing headline is a complete train wreck. More like a car wreck, that requires the airbags to go off.
Was it necessary to do a third movie where Martin Lawrence runs around in a fat suit? Are there a ton of unanswered questions from the sequel? Does Brandon T. Jackson need a better agent? Do I deserve hazard-pay because I have to review this?
The answer to all of the above is no. Yes, even to the last query.
FBI agent Malcolm (Martin Lawrence) is still fighting crime and loving life. Especially since his stepson Trent (Brandon T. Jackson) has been accepted to Duke University. Problem is, Trent’s passion lies within the music world as he raps under the persona “The Prodigy.” Trent has talent and since he is getting offers from record labels (now we know this is a work of fiction), he tells Malcolm that attending Duke is not in the cards. Malcolm is floored by this and refuses to support Trent’s choice of rapping over education.
The discussion is put on hold as Malcolm is working another sting, in which he is trying to nab three Euro-trash looking criminals (Henri Lubatti, Lorenzo Pisoni, Tony Curran) using an informant. Since Trent wasn’t happy about how he and Malcolm’s conversation ended, he crashes the operation. Leading him to witness a murder and therefore becoming a target by the trio Malcolm is trying to arrest. Knowing this, Malcolm needs to hide Trent. Enter in multiple fat suits. Malcolm has a lead where he can find evidence that can put the criminal trio away. Conveniently, the evidence is hidden in an all girls school of the dramatic arts. So Malcolm pulls out the Big Momma suit and Trent transforms into the school’s new student Charmaine.
Apparently, the writers felt having two men in fat suits and placing them in artsy school full of high school girls, would be a hilarious formula. A formula that inadvertently turns into a High School Musical script at times. Issue here is that they did not try to put Martiiiiinnn (shock out to the sitcom) and Jackson in any innovative scenarios, while portraying their rotund alternate characters. The game of Twister with school security guard Faizon Love – who has a crush on Big Momma – started out alright, but it never evolved to anything but a thought. The saying, “It’s the thought that counts” does not apply here. With this gimmick, having a thought is just the start. The script needed to be elevated from just a concept to a creative production. And this is where our director fails miserably.
Eventually, this installment feels like it is trying to pass the reins to Brandon T. Jackson. About halfway through, the Big Momma character become the supporting player as the story focuses on Jackson trying to blend in with all the theatre major-like girls at school. Which would be fine, if the script would have more fun with this. Instead, this starts to invade the romantic-comedy genre as Jackson tries to woo a fellow student played by the lovely Jessica Lucas. When this happens, a few lines of dialogue are fairly strong and can resonate with the audience. Yet, that shouldn’t be the goal for this franchise. Plus, they do not have enough of these moments to qualify the direction of the story.
Developing a story is always welcomed by yours truly, but when the property is built on Martin Lawrence dawning a fat suit, all one really needs is silly shenanigans that put the character in awkward situations. Which then will hopefully lead to the audience laughing The nude model scene found in this installment was on the right path, but the idea or THOUGHT was never fully cultivated.
In other words, give the audience the juvenile/mindless humor. We do not need another Mrs. Doubtfire.
Overall, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son relied too much on the idea. By doing so, the crew “failed” to put the work in order to perfect these said ideas. The flick shows some heart and all the performers gave it their all. With that said, people that do not see a ton of movies could find this charming. Moments of physical humor do exist. Sadly, they are just moments that will fade away into Razzie-award history.
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son is rated PG-13 and opens in the Tampa Bay market today.