[Screen It]


(2006) (Martin Lawrence, Emily Procter) (PG-13)

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Comedy: An FBI agent goes undercover as a grandmotherly nanny to try to nab some bad guys before they unleash their dangerous computer worm, all while helping the kids in his care with their various issues.
Considering that his wife Sherri (NIA LONG) is expecting their first child together, FBI agent Malcolm Turner (MARTIN LAWRENCE) has given up field work and now does public relations for the agency, such as dressing up like Goldie the Safety Eagle for school kids. But when he hears that his first partner has just been murdered with that possibly being linked to a group of hackers planning to unleash their computer worm on government computers, he wants back in, but his boss refuses his request.

Learning that the agency is going to plant a nanny in the home of the chief suspect -- Tom Fuller (MARK MOSES) of National Agenda Software -- Malcolm gets an idea. Resurrecting the full-figured grandmotherly disguise he donned years earlier to nab a criminal, he dresses up as Hattie May Pierce, a.k.a. "Big Momma" and crashes the nanny interviews, thus displacing undercover agent Constance Stone (SARAH JOY BROWN) who was set to get the job.

With Tom having little time for his kids -- teenager Molly (KAT DENNINGS), younger sister and cheerleader wannabe Carrie (CHLOň GRACE MORETZ) and toddler Andrew (PRESTON SHORES & TREVOR SHORES) who's yet to say his first word -- Big Momma takes her orders, of which there are many, from his wife, Leah (EMILY PROCTER).

After the FBI eventually figures out Big Momma's real identity, they team Malcolm with FBI agent Kevin (ZACHARY LEVI) and computer whiz kid Stewart (JOSH FLITTER) in hopes that he'll find out who Tom's working with and thwart their plan. While doing that, he also sets out -- as Big Momma -- to help the Fuller kids with their various issues.

OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
Researchers and test subjects occasionally dress up in what are impolitely called "fat suits" to research what it's like to be obese in our body-obsessed culture. In the process, they often get jeers or laughter at their expense over how they look.

Actor Martin Lawrence is doing so for an entirely different reason. With nary a hit solely credited to his name over the past several years of cinematic attempts ("Bad Boys II" doesn't count as that was all due to the presence of the former Fresh Prince), the comedian returns to his last big success in hopes that lightning might strike twice.

And that's about the only credible reason for the existence of "Big Momma's House 2," the rather late to be released sequel to the 2000 film that really was just a rip-off, if a fairly entertaining one, of previous men in drag films, particularly the Robin Williams vehicle "Mrs. Doubtfire." Beyond Lawrence giving what was arguably his best comedic work on the big screen, the film benefited from the presence of supporting players Paul Giamatti ("Sideways") and Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow") back when few people outside of the business knew who they were.

Not surprisingly, they've passed on appearing in this sequel that -- depending on viewer expectations and quality of their comedic tastes -- will elicit similar reactions to the aforementioned researchers in their "fat suits." Fans of the original and those who think Lawrence can do no wrong might laugh at the various shenanigans offered up here. Most everyone else, however, will jeer the completely unnecessary return of the title character and the actor's way of playing "her."

20th Century Fox did not screen this film in advance for most critics, so we're still working on the rest of this part of the review (More Coming Soon)

Reviewed January 27, 2006 / Posted January 27, 2006

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