The summer run of movies appear to be capitalising on the success of push-the-envelope comedies from previous years like There's Something About Mary and Austin Powers. This year we've had Me, Myself & Irene, Scary Movie, Road Trip, and even The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (and I'm listing only those movies where the gag factor was high and served as the "plot"). Big Momma's House is Martin Short's entry into this sub-genre, and like with Jim Carrey films, the movie is essentially a way for him to showcase his crazy antics.
The plot is straight-forward enough. Malcolm (Martin Lawrence) is an FBI agent, a master of disguises of sorts. When a dangerous criminal (Terrence Howard) escapes and it is known that he is after his ex-girlfriend Sherry (Nia Long), Malcolm disguises himself as her mother (Big Momma) to catch him.
This framework allows Lawrence to engage in a variety of gags (including, of course those related to flatulence and weight), taking advantage of the fact that no one knows that he is really a male impersonating an extremely heavy female. By far, the latter is the cleverest aspect of the film, and results in hilarity when "Big Momma" kicks a bullying security guard's butt in karate and beats bullying school kids at basketball. And of course, there are also occasions where "Big Momma" has to perform tasks that clearly isn't Malcolm's forte, like delivering a baby or singing in the church choir. These also lead to a great deal of laughs.
Nia Long is cute, and like Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary appears to be having a good time enjoying the joke being played on her. Jascha Washington, playing Sherry's son Trent, is really cute. Big Momma's House isn't the most involving of movies, but the comedy level is high and there are some good laughs to be had here. Worth the matinee fare.