Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son opens with an FBI agent chasing down a mailman. The Fed thinks his stepson’s acceptance letter from Duke may be arriving, and he’s unwilling to wait any longer. The letter carrier is shocked and offended some lunatic would abuse his power to steal his own mail. Martin Lawrence plays the FBI agent and Dr. Ken Jeong plays the mailman. Both of these men are funny. They’ve made me laugh before, and here, they find themselves working within a somewhat amusing premise. A high speed chase ensues. An SUV weaves in front of the postal truck. The mailman loudly screams it’s a federal offense to tamper with letters. The FBI agent threatens to pull out his gun. And then they both look at each other, almost confused. Two comedians suddenly realize they don’t have one goddamn funny thing to say. Dr. Ken reads the letters, desperately trying to use his voice to wrangle out some comedy. He runs. Martin Lawrence tackles him. They again look at each other awkwardly before Dr. Ken musters a comment about intentionally losing tax returns. They both walk away defeated. Such is the modus operandi of the early frontrunner for the year’s worst film.
It’s tempting to place the fault here on laziness and apathy, but that doesn’t really make sense after watching the finished product all the way through. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son is simply intermittently lazy and apathetic. It bounces back and forth between extravagantly choreographed dance numbers, original songs and not giving a rat’s ass about its own quality. It’s like a woman with a black eye that does her hair. Who cares how the bangs look if you can’t take your eyes off that shiner? There has to be easier ways to make money than this. God only knows how many hours the lead actors had to spend getting into those fat suits. God only knows how many more had to be spent teaching everything from call and response raps to ballet routines. But what the hell is the point when thirty-something looking actors playing teenagers say things like “Whatever. IM me later”? While we’re at it, why don’t we check each other’s Xanga’s or see if our Tamagotchis are hungry? No one talks like that, but, hey, at least that scene makes sense logically.
Malcolm Tuner (Martin Lawrence) is an FBI agent and master of disguise. His favorite alias is Big Momma, but you probably already know this from the first two times he donned the make-up. He’s been feuding with his stepson Trent (Brandon T. Jackson) over whether or not he’ll attend Duke in the fall or pursue a rap career, but for the moment, he’s got more important things to worry about. His best informant has come across a flashdrive that could put away an organized crime kingpin for a long time. Naturally, instead of just turning this over to the Feds, they’ve decided to organize a sale of said flash drive to the mob baron. I guess this way they can prove he’s guilty of the crime of trying to cover up heinous crimes he’s already committed. The handoff goes horribly. The rat is murdered, and Malcolm’s son witnesses the whole thing. They narrowly escape, but not before the dying snitch gives up a location to the real flash drive. It’s hidden in an all girls school. We all know what that means.
Malcolm and Trent go undercover at the performing arts school disguised as Big Momma and her great niece Charmaine. The former quickly procures a job as a house mother, and the latter starts attending ballet and art classes. There, Charmaine meets a beautiful aspiring singer named Haley (Jessica Lucas), and despite the other girl’s protests, she lets Charmaine into the secret world of the Divas, an exclusive society that recently stole a music box that contains the flash drive. They had no idea, but nonetheless, it’s missing, and Big Momma needs it back to send the mobster to prison. Why he couldn’t just arrest the dude for shooting a mob informant in front of him, especially as it was tape recorded, is a question there’s no point in asking.
In fact, in order to appreciate this movie, there are a lot of questions one needs to not bother asking. Let me just give you a few of them. Part of the way through this sequel-fail, Charmaine takes an art class with a nude model. Big Momma, for some reason, decides this isn’t acceptable and rants about the lack of full figured women in art. In response, the teacher cajoles her to take off her clothes. Eventually, she agrees to get partially naked. The teacher keeps prodding, ripping Big Momma’s nightgown off. Charmaine pulls the fire alarm, and everyone runs out screaming. What happened in those three towelless seconds? Were all twenty girls and the teacher looking away? Did no one notice the penis inexplicably hanging out? Or does Big Momma cover it up, Silence Of The Lambs style? Oh well. It’s not like it matters.
Still, with all that said, I would be willing to overlook every single illogical plot point if this movie were funny. It’s not. It’s not even intermittently funny. I smiled maybe twice. Most of the time, I was just bored and irritated. Are there two worse adjectives you can use to describe a comedy? That’s a question worth asking.