Hall of Fame Speech #16: Big Momma’s House

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. For this week we are revisiting one of the quintessential 2000s cross-dressing comedies. You guessed it, Big Momma’s in the house! It’s actually her house if I recall correctly. So get ready for some karate / basketball / farting action. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Big Momma’s House

I honestly think we might end up watching every crossdressing comedy film ever made. And I also honestly think they might all end up in the Hall of Fame. Wait … were you thinking I was going to say this is a bad thing? Nope, this is obviously excellent. YOLO, #NoRegrets, BMT4Life, and all that, this is our duty to the world. Like Norbit or Diary of a Mad Black Woman before it, I unironically love crossdressing comedies. There is just something so pure about them. All the way back to Twelfth Night, even William Shakespeare understood: people dressing up as the opposite gender when treated with just the right amount of hijinks can be high comedy. Well … they can at least be something. Bring on the farts! Let’s get into it!

It has been five years … I mean, since I watched the original, I guess it’s been, like, three years since Big Momma herself was in my life. I also literally watched the basketball scene like a month ago because I felt like it. But what do I remember about the film itself?

  • The film’s concept is completely absurd. You have a person who is purported to be a large (and in charge) member of the community replaced by a man in a fat suit? How would no one notice? Don’t even ask the question because you know they aren’t going to answer it.
  • Compared to Norbit the makeup is insanely bad. If anyone ever doubts Norbit deserved an Oscar nod for makeup they should watch this film and compare. Rasputia is a living breathing character compared to this nonsense.
  • The cast is bumping, imagine being able to hook Giamatti and Nia Long into a film like this now. It was a wild time when films like this were an easy buck for actors and producers alike.
  • The B-story is basically about a murderer trying to go see his son … the B-story is just crazy over-the-top serious.
  • I think this is where we started to see the value in franchising BMT. The Big Momma trilogy ended up stretching across 3 weeks of BMT which is honestly unacceptable, but is definitely something to think about concerning its place in BMT lore.

So which do I think is the most important? This is definitely one of the BMT films where the sum of its parts are greater than the whole. I think the fact that you can compare it to Norbit and it comes up lacking is important. I think the fact that Giamatti is there lending a bit of shine is a historical and cultural oddity as well. And I think the fact that we watched the entire trilogy for BMT, it is a true BMT franchise, is an important BMT historical milestone. None of those by themselves a Hall of Fame make. But combined together I think this exemplifies the moment where we were able to transcend a bad movie, find the diamonds in the rough, and create a BMT classic. I do think that is what this is, despite the fact that I couldn’t necessarily tell you a single defining Hall of Fame feature of the film. But … that’s what the rewatch is for.

How did the rewatch go? Better than one could ever expect. Who would have thought despite picking out five memorable features of the film prior to the rewatch, I wouldn’t put any of them in the top three most important aspects of the rewatch. I have three words for you: Farts, Dunks, and Monologues. First, the film’s main feature (after the ill-advised decision to have Martin Lawrence dress in yellow face … huh, another connection to Norbit, who’d have thunk it?) starts with our hero breaking into Big Momma’s house and witnessing her fart/shit in front of him. It is such an important part of the film that multiple reviews mention it. I mean, when you have a character called Big Momma I suppose you can’t help but have the poor woman fart for an extended period of time. And fart she does.

Second, in addition to a weird subplot involving karate (complete with Martin Lawrence beating up Chris Anthony as Big Momma) there is an even better out-of-nowhere basketball scene. We see Big Momma drop buckets on some unsuspected teens, kick out dimes to his love interest’s young son, and win on a dunk that can only be described as both earth-shattering and definitely-on-a-seven-foot-hoop. Read any list of worst-ever dunks seen on film, and this will at least get an honorable mention. I suppose it fails Prerequisite 1 from The Ringer’s best movie dunks of all time, but for real I would put this at number one. Big Momma, an apparently morbidly obese grandmother, slam dunks on a bunch of teen ballers? Get out of here, that’s amazing.

Finally, this is one of the original Monosklogs. Here’s the thing, we used to send all of these things out as emails to our friends back in the day (fine we still do, but back in the day they pretended to read them). And we used to include the best monologues from bad movies. Unfortunately, with the website comes some responsibility of what videos we host on the site, and so all of them had to go. That’s fine. But this is legit one of the finest. And luckily, It is available on YouTube.

It’s glorious. Much like Mi Mama from Here on Earth, a good monologue or montage can sustain any bad movie. Right when you think the film might lag, here comes a monologue complete with singing to lift you up. I could watch it all day. Oh happy day.

And right there. That’s why this movie deserved the Hall of Fame. It is the definition of a bad film that keeps on giving and is greater than all of the small individual notes of bad/goodness during the film. You have terrible makeup, an amazing cast, a crazy serious B-story, franchise potential, farts, dunks, and one amazing monologue to lift you up right when the concept of the film is starting to feel tired. What else could you possibly ask for? Nothing, except for maybe Norbit’s makeup artists to bring Big Momma alive. Maybe they’ll finally get their number for Big Momma’s White House, where Big Momma is accidentally elected president. Whoops! What crazy crossdressing hijinks! Welcome to the Hall of Fame Big Momma.

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