2011 Running time: 107 Certificate: pg Not yet rated

Synopsis

Martin Lawrence dons the fat suit for his third escapade as Big Momma, the big-boned alter-ego of FBI agent Malcolm Turner. This time, Malcolm is forced to drag up and lie low with his teenage stepson Trent (Brandon T Jackson) at an all-girls performing arts school when Trent witnesses a murder. But while his dad has long been in touch with his feminine side, it doesn't take long for Trent - or rather "Charmaine" - to get his knickers in a twist.

Director

  • John Whitesell

Cast

  • Martin Lawrence

  • Brandon T Jackson

  • Portia Doubleday

  • Jessica Lewis

  • Ana Ortiz

Review

Remember how we laughed when Martin Lawrence first put on his chubby granny suit in Big Momma's House? And then when he went through exactly the same routine in Big Momma's House 2?

Us neither.

But as Eddie 'Klump-Norbit' Murphy, Tyler 'Madea' Perry, and Big Momma's $300million-plus global takings prove, the black-guy-as-a-fat-lass joke never wears thin.

Time once again, then, for America's premier non-tertainer to wheel out his latex-covered cash cow for another lumbering farce.

This time, Lawrence's FBI agent Malcolm is forced to go undercover when his high-school graduate stepson Trent (Jackson, Tropic Thunder) witnesses an informant gunned down by an East European gangster (Tony Curran).

Having conveniently removed Trent's mother from the picture, the plot dictates that father and stepson hide out in Georgia's All-Girls School for the Performing Arts, with Malcolm blagging a job as hefty house mother Hattie Mae Pierce - aka Big Momma - and Trent as his great-neice Charmaine.

Because nobody blends in like a 30-stone foghorn in a neon housedress and a chunky female rapper in a frumpy cardigan.

To be fair, the Trent-as-Charmaine make-up job is pretty good. But it's the only convincing aspect of a tired and mostly tiresome money-spinner whose comic ambition goes no further than calling the chief baddie Chirkoff (geddit?).

As a narrative device, the hunt for a hidden USB stick proves as uninspired and predictable as the boys' pratfalling attempts to keep a low profile.

So while Trent struggles to stay in character around piano-playing cutie Haley (Jessica Lucas, Cloverfield), Momma's cover is under constant threat from teenage drama queens, a spot of nude modelling, and the school's amorous caretaker (Faizon Love).

Like Hattie Mae herself, this franchise is just cliché and padding. That said, given its fun-poking premise, it's amusing to note that Lawrence could soon be able to play Big Momma without the suit.

Yet for all its outward cheek, Big Momma 3 takes great pains to keep the moral majority sweet (and thus maximise box office returns) by paying lip-service to issues of female empowerment and giving Trent the entire film to ponder the merits of a hollow rap career or going to university.

Lordy, it's dull.

As Trent so philosophically muses, "There's no rush to greatness". Nobody here is hurrying, that's fo' sho'.