Big Momma’s House 2

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If you can recall this sequel's amiably stupid predecessor, you may dimly remember a time when Martin Lawrence was actually considered funny, a period that seems more remote with each passing frame of this cinematic train wreck. A witless and wholly unnecessary follow-up, Big Momma's House 2 finds Lawrence dusting off his muumuu and Just My Size stockings, and flailing about in utter desperation, doing anything he can to muster laughs. For such a voluminous woman, Big Momma is quite agile; she shakes her formidable booty with gusto, frolics on the beach, delivers karate chops and performs stunts on a Segway scooter and a Jet Ski. The "script" from master hack Don Rhymer (The Santa Clause 2) regurgitates already-tired gags from Mrs. Doubtfire, The Nutty Professor and the original Big Momma's House, as well as lifting the plot from last year's dreadful Vin Diesel family vehicle The Pacifier.

This time out, Lawrence's FBI agent Malcolm Turner has traded his field work for a demeaning gig touring schools as "Goldie the Safety Eagle," if only to keep his pregnant wife Sherry (Nia Long) from worrying. Apparently crime-stopping is as strong an impulse as cross-dressing for Malcolm, and, when an opportunity arises, he jumps at the chance to don the fat suit again and resume his undercover persona of large and in-charge Big Momma. A convoluted scheme to decode sensitive government intelligence data has Malcolm playing nanny to a trio of cliché movie brats, whose workaholic father is a prime suspect. Meanwhile, the family's hyper-prissy mom (Emily Proctor) has Big Momma busy with an endless assortment of chores, errands and planned activities, all of which make real investigative work difficult. Not that spying is really the point here, as the story line is only there to spin a ceaseless loop of fat jokes, from Big Momma jumping into a mud bath at a posh spa, to a sickening re-creation of Bo Derek's beachside jog in 10 that displays Momma's Orca-like blubber squeezed into a yellow bathing suit that creeps into all the wrong crevices. For a movie bearing such a tremendous posterior, this is a half-assed effort from start to finish. Not a single joke or pratfall elicits more than a pained smile, though there are plenty of unintentional laughs when the movie takes a turn for heartfelt drama. We were better off with big butt jokes.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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