Big Momma's House
Mrs. Doubtfire packs a pistol.
Martin Lawrence is large and in charge in this extended, one-joke skit
about FBI agent Malcolm Turner undercover to catch a murderous bank
robber. While disguised as a cranky, colossal grandmother, Turner tries
to squeeze information out of the crook's ex-flame and finds himself
falling for the babe played by Nia Long.
Lawrence gets a workout here since the film is really just a shell
designed to showcase his comedic talents. The comedian is put through
the paces and gives Tom Cruise a run for his money in the film's opening
scene, undercover as a aged, karate-chopping Asian man. (Maybe the film
should have been called "Martin: Impossible!") His real challenges come
decked out and weighed down in blubbery drag as he dances, shoots hoops
and takes over a self-defense class, only occasionally looking stiff in
the masses of makeup. Unfortunately, so many of Lawrence's chunky,
cross-dressing gags bring only a few stray giggles since they've been
done to death in films such as "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "The Nutty
Professor." Long and others are capable, but this is Martin's show.
Had Raja Gosnell ("Never Been Kissed") been more comedy conscious, this
film could have been more than a floundering collection of gags.
Gosnell, like too many directors today, falls into the trap of trying to
be everything to everyone. Instead of concentrating on creating a
focused and funny comedy, he crams together plenty of romance and police
action, then wraps it up in warm, fuzzy messages. Once the novelty of
Lawrence in a humongous housecoat wears off, we're left with a massive
This house could use some fixin' up.