Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

Release Date: February 18, 2011

That's one way to get her to take off the Madea costume.

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168/171 Max Braden What a pile.

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I always feel that there is a window of sequel acceptability. The comic book movie seems to get it right, with a sequel being released every two to three years (and if it’s any longer, we’ll get talks of reboots instead). We can see that the nine year gap between Cats and Dogs and C&D: The Revenge of Kitty Galore did horrors to the box-office numbers, and I remember being surprised that in 2006, there was a sequel being made to Big Momma’s House, which I even remember enjoying back in 2000 (when I was 11, but still…). Against my best wishes, it made enough money for another way-too-late sequel.

This time around, Malcolm Tucker (Martin Lawrence) needs to go undercover (as the trailers like to say, “way undercover!”) as Big Momma again, now with his son Trent (Brandon T. Jackson), who also has to go “way undercover”. Although plot details are as hidden as a Woody Allen movie’s, it appears that Trent witnesses a murder by Russian mobsters and has to go to an all-girl’s school for the arts in Atlanta. Malcolm must again be Big Momma while Trent becomes “Charmaine”.

Ever since Big Momma’s House 2, Lawrence has been in a string of modest grossers (Death at a Funeral with $42.7 million, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins with $42.4 million, College Road Trip with $45.6 million), with only one fluke hit (Wild Hogs with $168.3, and yes, you read that right if you blocked Wild Hogs out of your memory like I had). His time between the first and second Momma movies didn’t fare much better, with grossers ranging from $16.8 million (Rebound) to $33.4 million (Black Knight, whose humor was based on a medieval princess learning curse words). The only exception from that was Bad Boys II, but even that just earned a little above its $130 million budged domestically. I’m sure I can be positive that BM: LFLS is only made to keep Lawrence afloat in the public’s eye. Without the Big Momma franchise, Lawrence might be able to keep these mid-$40s movies coming out for a few more years before slowly making his way into Cuba Gooding Jr. territory (or perhaps immediately going to Gooding territory).

The Big Momma franchise is the lone beacon of financial hope in Lawrence’s resume of the past decade. He’s not an unfunny man, but teenagers of the past decade (like I myself was) had precious few opportunities to see that. When the only not-Bad Boys II leading success he had was Big Momma’s House and its sequel, however, one must wonder if this is Lawrence at his peak or if he’s just earning his paycheck (based on the fact that his movies generally are not well-received, it’s hard to ignore that it’s the former). The two Momma movies earned $187 million. For someone whose career may soon end up being described as “middling,” it’s understandable why he would want to crank out another film in his biggest franchise. Being an established product, it should be able to break out of his mid-$40s range and get close to, if not overtake, Big Momma’s House 2’s $70.1 million.

Plus, it’s been years since we’ve heard Martin Lawrence say “daaaaaaaamn.” Audiences are always hungry for that. (Samuel Hoelker/BOP)

Vital statistics for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
Main Cast Martin Lawrence, Brandon T. Jackson
Supporting Cast Jessica Lucas, Faizon Love, Emily Rios, Portia Doubleday, Michelle Ang
Director John Whitesell
Screenwriter Matthew Fogel, Randi Mayem Singer
Distributor Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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