Review in a Hurry: Thanks a bunch, Tyler Perry. Your antics in old-lady dress-up have inspired Martin Lawrence to literally drag his worst franchise out of the closet and back onto the big screen, cheaper and more lazily than ever.
The Bigger Picture: Aside from the fact that it's chasing Madea-level money, nothing much about Big Mommas makes sense, from the opening sequence in which FBI agent Malcolm Tucker (Lawrence) terrorizes his mailman (Ken Jeong, annoyingly overplaying as usual) for no particular reason, to the terribly contrived plot that results in both Tucker and his estranged stepson Trent (Brandon T. Jackson) to go undercover.
Suffice it to say that aspiring rapper Trent thinks it'd somehow be a great idea to harass his father during a sting operation, and that the MacGuffin being sought by an evil villain (named Chirkoff, tee-hee) has been arbitrarily hidden in a girls' school.
Needless to say, Paul Giamatti does not return for this adventure. Even Nia Long couldn't be bothered to show up. And Faizon Love, who generates the movie's only laughs as a jumbo-sized janitor with a fat fetish, wisely goes unbilled in the credits.
Perhaps as a token gesture to the Tyler Perry model, this Atlanta-set sequel features more musical numbers (quite obviously overdubbed), and an emphasis on healing family relationships rather than going overboard on the gross-out gags.
Jackson makes for an agreeable enough presence, while Lawrence starts to feel like scenery in his own movie, as if even he can't work up the energy to pretend the film's worth a damn. On the plus side, his half-assed emoting makes him less obnoxious than usual.
And not that anyone really cares about consistency and continuity throughout what I guess we can now call a trilogy...but considering that "Big Momma" in part one is an actual person that Tucker is specifically impersonating, isn't it just a tad reckless to keep using her name and likeness in dangerous situations? Or is Tucker just supposed to be the worst federal agent ever?
Stay till the end credits if you've ever wanted to see Lawrence-as-Big-Momma rapping. But know that if you do have such a desire, you need to dream bigger.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Any movie that references Krush Groove can't be all bad—can it?