[Screen It]


(2000) (Martin Lawrence, Nia Long) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Mild Extreme Mild Moderate
Mild Mild Mild None Moderate
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Minor None Minor Moderate

Comedy: An FBI agent poses as a cantankerous Southern granny while trying to catch a brutal bank robber who once dated the granddaughter of the woman he's impersonating.
FBI agent Malcolm Turner (MARTIN LAWRENCE), a master of disguises, and his behind the scenes and more straight-laced partner, John (PAUL GIAMATTI), have been assigned to track down Lester Vasgow (TERRENCE HOWARD), a convicted bank robber and recent prison escapee.

Since Lester's former girlfriend, Sherry Pierce (NIA LONG), has suddenly hit the road with her son Trent (JASCHA WASHINGTON) upon hearing of Lester's escape, and due to the fact that she's a previous suspect and bank employee who was neither charged nor cleared of being involved in the crime, the agents stake out the home of her Southern and rather large grandmother, Hattie May Pierce, affectionately known as "Big Momma" (ELLA MITCHELL).

When Big Momma suddenly leaves town to attend to a sick friend, the men decide to bug her house. Once inside, they get their big break when Sherry calls and leaves a message on the answering machine. Hearing that she's passing through and would like to drop in for a quick visit despite not getting along that well with her grandmother over the past several years, Malcolm picks up the phone and tries impersonating Big Momma so as to make Sherry stop by.

While not perfect, his impersonation works and he and John then set out - via a lifelike mask, wig, padding and extra-large clothes - to disguise Malcolm as Big Momma, hoping that Sherry will spill the beans to him/her about everything related to Lester and the robbery. Arriving at her grandma's house and having not seen her for several years, Sherry falls for Malcolm's impersonation, as do most of the woman's friends along with Ben (CARL WRIGHT), her older gentleman suitor.

Getting to know Sherry and Trent as both Big Momma and himself, Malcolm begins to fall for her and hopes that he can discover the truth about her involvement in the crime. With Lester zeroing in on Sherry and Trent, Malcolm and John continue their ruse of the former continuing to play Big Momma, all while dealing with an over ambitious security guard, Nolan (ANTHONY ANDERSON), and the worries that their cover will eventually be blown.

If they're fans of Lawrence, Long or anyone else in the cast, or of comedies in the vein of "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Tootsie," they just might.
For crude humor including sexual innuendo, and for language and some violence.
  • MARTIN LAWRENCE plays an FBI agent who goes undercover and poses as an older and quite large black woman to catch a criminal. Along the way, he falls for her adult granddaughter and uses some profanity while trying to help Sherry and nab Lester.
  • NIA LONG plays the criminal's former girlfriend who's harboring a secret that may or may not involve her involvement in his last bank robbery.
  • PAUL GIAMATTI plays Malcolm's more straight-laced partner who works behind the scenes to help Malcolm in his ruse.
  • TERRENCE HOWARD plays the convicted bank robber and recent prison escapee who wants to find Sherry and his money and will do anything to accomplish both (including threatening people with guns).
  • ELLA MITCHELL plays the real "Big Momma," a cantankerous Southern grandma.
  • JASCHA WASHINGTON plays Sherry's occasionally moody young son
  • ANTHONY ANDERSON plays an overeager security guard who inadvertently gets involved in the FBI case.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a quick summary of the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of nearly 20 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, sexually related comments are made, and some sexually related comedy is present (including the implication of a woman feeling a man's erection up against her).

    Violence is present in the form of a villain (having a bad attitude) who is seen shooting someone on videotape during a bank robbery, and threatening and shooting others during the course of the story (some of which may be a bit suspenseful for some viewers). Other violence is present and involves some fighting, while other bits appear for comedic purposes (people being hit or knocked down and an overly aggressive self-defense instructor getting his comeuppance).

    Some crude humor is present in the form of scatological comedy (bathroom sounds and one's reaction to that and the smell) and the brief sight of a nude, obese woman. A few jump scenes are present that may startle some viewers, and only a few brief instances of smoking and drinking occur. Should you still be concerned about the film's content and appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home, you may want to examine our detailed content listings more closely.

    Of special note for those concerned with full-screen flashes of light, some of that briefly occurs in quick succession during a thunderstorm at night.

  • Malcolm (as Big Momma) asks a neighbor if she's been drinking some corn liquor.
  • Some people appear to drink beer at a party.
  • Some scatological humor involves the real Big Momma stating that she has to use the bathroom badly and then rushing into it (where Malcolm is hiding in the shower). We then see her sit on the toilet (but don't see anything explicit) and hear various exaggerated gastrointestinal-related sounds as she does her business (we also see Malcolm reacting to the sound and smell).
  • Disguised as Big Momma, Malcolm jokes that Ben can't stay for dinner since the last time he had greens (which give him gas), she had to replace the wallpaper.
  • Lester fires a shot at John, hitting him in the arm (a tiny burst of blood flies out).
  • Lester has a few red/bloody scrapes on his face.
  • Lester obviously has both for previously robbing a bank and wounding/killing several people in the process, as well as for escaping from prison, hunting down Terry, and then threatening her, Trent and others with harm.
  • Those responsible for setting up and betting upon an illegal dogfight operation (seen in one scene) obviously have both.
  • A self-defense instructor gets a little rough with some older students in his class.
  • Some older boys are mean to Trent on a basketball court and even purposefully knock him to the ground while playing, and then tell Malcolm (as Big Momma) that he/she is "too fat to be balling" (playing basketball).
  • Some thugs throw John into the pit of an illegal dogfight operation and then let the dogs loose (and we presume they're going to get him - but they're distracted by Malcolm and John isn't hurt).
  • After buying a gun from a smalltime dealer, Lester refuses to pay the man's suddenly inflated price. The dealer then aims his gun at Lester and threatens to fire, but Lester slowly walks directly at the pointed gun, daring the man to shoot (he doesn't).
  • During a nighttime thunderstorm, Sherry wakes up, thinks she hears something, and goes to check on Trent. Suddenly Lester pops up in front of her (but it turns out to be a nightmare).
  • Sherry finds Lester sitting behind Trent on a bed, with a gun resting on his leg. The ensuing final confrontation between Lester, Malcolm and the others may be a bit suspenseful for some viewers (although much of it's played for laughs/action).
  • Handguns: Used to threaten, wound or apparently kill several people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Lester buys a gun from a smalltime dealer's car trunk (where we briefly see other weapons).
  • Phrases (due to crowd noise/laughter, the following should be considered as a minimum): "Piece of sh*t," "Sure is some freaky sh*t," "Shut up," "You old fool," "Balls" (testicles), "Big ass," "Nasty ass," "You old bat," "Bony ass," "Sucker(s)," "Screwing this thing up" and "What the hell..."
  • Lester breaks into someone's place by flipping down from the roof and jimmying open the window to get inside.
  • Since it's played for laughs (about Malcolm not knowing how to cook and the subsequent results of his efforts), some kids might try imitating a scene where places lots of butter, lard and Crisco into a skillet to fry some meat (that then catches on fire).
  • As Malcolm opens a file cabinet, a fake head/mask suddenly springs up out of it (which may startle some viewers).
  • A person suddenly pops up in front of another person in a darkened room at night.
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays in a few scenes.
  • None (that we heard).
  • Due to crowd noise/laughter, the following should be considered as a minimum: At least 19 "s" words, 2 slang terms for male genitals (something along the lines of "sha-boing toing" and "boinka"), 1 slang term for female genitals ("poontang"), 17 damns, 12 hells, 11 asses, 4 uses of "God," 3 each of "Jesus," "Oh my God" and "Oh Lord" and 1 use of "Good Lord" as exclamations.
  • We see a brief glimpse of the real Big Momma undressing to get into the shower and thus see a view of her bare back and butt (played for laughs due to her large size).
  • While looking through the real Big Momma's personal belongings to access her clothing choices for Malcolm's disguise, John picks up and briefly holds her bra and her rather skimpy panties.
  • As John pulls at and readjusts Malcolm in his disguise, a neighbor walks by and sees the silhouette of that occurring through the window at night. Due to the positioning of their bodies, the woman mistakenly believes that something sexual is occurring (due to movement), particularly when John seemingly disappears down toward Malcolm/Big Momma's crotch.
  • Meeting Sherry for the first time, Malcolm (dressed as Big Momma) lets the following slip (regarding Sherry), "I'd never forgot that ass" (but quickly covers himself by stating that he/she said "asthma").
  • Big Momma's "boyfriend" shows up and mistakes Malcolm in his disguise for the real thing. As such, he plants a kiss on the fake Big Momma who pushes him away. He then says that his mouth might be closed, but that his hands are open for business (and he tries touching Malcolm's fake breasts). Malcolm (acting like Big Momma) then states that he/she doesn't want to be treated like "street poontang" and that Ben will "never get with me." She then adds that Ben is going about it all the wrong way, stating that one doesn't lead with (what sounded like) "their sha-boing toing" (privates).
  • While reluctantly serving as a midwife to a pregnant woman giving birth, Malcolm (as Big Momma) looks at this woman's crotch and screams (we don't see it). Trying then to stall until paramedics arrive, Malcolm tries closing the woman's legs (saying he doesn't want her "business" waving in the air) but she spreads them open again, saying that they don't close. He then adds that maybe that's what got her in that condition in the first place.
  • Malcolm (still dressed as Big Momma) lustfully watches Sherry (dressed in some skimpy, tight and partially see-through clothing), as does the camera that pans up her body.
  • Slightly frightened by a thunderstorm at night, Sherry hops into bed with Malcolm under the covers (thinking he's Big Momma and wearing an open robe and short negligee that shows some cleavage). She then pulls his/her arms around her, reminiscing about doing the same when she was a little girl (and asks if that feels good and he replies that "it feels damn good"). After a moment, she asks, "What's that?" and then wiggles her body back against his to indicate what she's feeling (his erection). He then quickly says that it's his flashlight (that he pulls out) and then stuffs a small pillow between his crotch and her back. Moments later, however, Sherry asks if he/she has another flashlight (suggesting she still feels the erection).
  • While speaking/confessing before a church congregation, Malcolm (acting as Big Momma) states that he/she has lusted in her heart, as well as in her living room, a hot tub at the Red Roof Inn and in the back of an El Camino.
  • Sherry shows some cleavage.
  • Malcolm (dressed as Big Momma) walks into the real Big Momma's bedroom and finds Ben waiting in bed and under the covers for her. He tells her that he can't get enough of her love and starts to get out of bed, just barely holding the covers over his crotch (he's otherwise nude). Malcolm then tells him that whatever he started in that bed, he's going to finish alone. He then adds that if he sees Ben's "boinka" (or something like that referring to his privates), "All hell's gonna break loose."
  • The real Big Momma walks into her bedroom and finds an older woman on top of Ben in her bed (no nudity or movement).
  • The real Big Momma does some slightly suggestive dancing with John at a party.
  • Lester smokes once, some miscellaneous characters hold cigars or have cigarettes behind their ears, and a self-defense instructor mentions that a potential victim could be sitting around on their porch smoking a pack of Virginia Slims when an assailant might pop up.
  • None, although there's no father figure in Trent's life.
  • Some of the jokes coming at the expense of the obese.
  • Malcolm leading on Sherry and Trent while posing as Big Momma (although that was part of his job).
  • During an undercover case, a man holds a gun on John and then throws him into the pit area of an illegal dogfight operation. Malcolm, disguised as an older Asian man, then beats up several bad guys with kicks, punches and some kneeing action.
  • We see non-graphic videotape footage of Lester shooting someone in the back during a bank robbery. We also hear that he shot two people and later killed a prison doctor to escape (none of which is seen, although we do hear the sounds of some gunfire on that tape). On that videotape, we then see Lester look at the surveillance camera that's taping him, aim and then shoot it out of operation.
  • The real Big Momma picks up a small dog by the sweater it's wearing and tosses it over her fence.
  • The real Big Momma knees or hits John in the crotch (the impact occurs below the camera shot) to make him get out of the way so that she can use the bathroom.
  • Malcolm (as Big Momma) has some hot oil splash on his hands/arms (but we don't see the results).
  • Lester may have done something violent to a woman in a hospital since we see both of them in a hallway, and then what looks like part of her hair floating in an aquarium as he looks through some medical records late at night.
  • Malcolm gets a brief shock from some electrical wiring as he acts like he's repairing a doorbell.
  • Sparring with Malcolm to show him his marital arts skills, Trent punches Malcolm in the face and then pins him to the ground with his hand behind his back.
  • A pratfall has John falling over a fence.
  • A self-defense instructor gets a little rough with an older student by pushing and tripping her to the ground. Thus, Malcolm (as Big Momma) then volunteers to be the next student and elbows the instructor several times, flips him over, head butts him and then twists his arm up and under his crotch. Moments later, the rest of the class of older women approach the instructor and begin pummeling him (just out of the camera shot).
  • During a basketball game between some older boys and Trent and Malcolm (as Big Momma), the older boys purposefully knock Trent to the ground. In turn, Malcolm uses his bulk to knock the boys to the court.
  • After buying a gun from a smalltime dealer, Lester refuses to pay the man's suddenly inflated price. The dealer then aims his gun at Lester and threatens to fire, but Lester slowly walks directly at the pointed gun, daring the man to shoot (he doesn't).
  • Malcolm pins Nolan to a sofa after he sprays pepper spray into John's eyes.
  • The real Big Momma opens a cab door, accidentally (or perhaps purposefully) hitting John with it.
  • Nolan holds a gun on Lester but the clip falls out, causing Lester to then aim his gun at Nolan.
  • Malcolm (as Big Momma) dives through (and breaks) a window.
  • Lester fires a shot at John, hitting him in the arm (a tiny burst of blood flies out).
  • Lester and Malcolm struggle over a gun and the real Big Momma runs into them. Malcolm then punches Lester several times, who returns the punches but they only land in the padding Malcolm's wearing. Lester punches Malcolm in the face. Malcolm then head butts, kicks and repeatedly punches Lester, and finally kicks Lester out through a window.

  • Reviewed May 31, 2000 / Posted June 2, 2000

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