Big Momma’s House Preview

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. This is the updated preview, the Hall of Fame Speech will follow to explain why we think this film is Hall of Fame worthy.

Generated on: 2020-01-11

Big Momma’s House (2000) – BMeTric: 60.3; Notability: 42 

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(Shockingly low, but it is also hard to admit you like this film. Considering the makeup work is objectively bad though I think it is about right. 60+ BMeTric is quite amazing, good job Big Momma’s House.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Any movie that employs an oven mitt and a plumber’s friend in a childbirth scene cannot be all bad, and I laughed a lot during “Big Momma’s House.” I also spent a certain amount of time staring at the screen in disbelief. While it’s true that comedy can redeem bad taste, it’s can be appalling when bad taste thinks it is being redeemed by comedy, and is wrong. The movie’s opening toilet scene, featuring the biggest evacuation since we pulled out of Vietnam, is a grisly example.

(Yeah this sounds about right considering what I remember. Basically it is really really stupid, but somewhat chamingly begnin and good-hearted. That you can kind of like it if you don’t pay attention too much.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njhwlzuPXv4/

(This might as well be called “2000s cross-dressing comedy”. Babies, basketball, karate, self-defense classes, surprise parties, and boob jokes. It is literally everything you didn’t ask for.)

Directors – Raja Gosnell – (Known For: Never been Kissed; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Future BMT: Home Alone 3; Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Yours, Mine & Ours; BMT: Big Momma’s House; Show Dogs; Notes: Was an editor for years and years prior to directing Home Alone 3. Is currently tapped to direct yet-another Santa origin story.)

Writers – Darryl Quarles (story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Black Knight; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Big Momma’s House; Notes: I have to imagine it was his original script that was adapted since he gets only character credits on the later films and didn’t write much else. Was a producer on Fresh Prince.)

Don Rhymer (screenplay) – (Known For: The Santa Clause 2; Rio; Ferdinand; Surf’s Up; Rio 2; Future BMT: Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London; The Honeymooners; Deck the Halls; Carpool; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Big Momma’s House; Notes: Started writing on Coach back in the day, and now basically writes animated kids’ films.)

Actors – Martin Lawrence – (Known For: Bad Boys; The Beach Bum; Do the Right Thing; Death at a Funeral; Life; Open Season; Boomerang; House Party; Future BMT: College Road Trip; Black Knight; Rebound; National Security; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; House Party 2; Blue Streak; A Thin Line Between Love and Hate; Bad Boys II; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Big Momma’s House; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in 2012; Notes: He’s back jack! In Bad Boys For Life, which turns out is a smash hit. He almost died while preparing for this role while jogging in a plastic suit in the summer.)

Nia Long – (Known For: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged; Friday; Boyz n the Hood; Keanu; The Best Man Holiday; Alfie; Boiler Room; The Best Man; Soul Food; Lemon; Roxanne Roxanne; The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy; Love Jones; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; Mooz-Lum; Future BMT: Made in America; Premonition; Held Up; Stigmata; In Too Deep; Gospel Hill; BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Big Momma’s House 2; Are We There Yet?; Big Momma’s House; The Single Moms Club; Notes: Has been on television more recently with stints on both Empire and NCIS: Los Angeles.)

Paul Giamatti – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; Saving Mr. Banks; 12 Years a Slave; Planet of the Apes; Donnie Brasco; The Truman Show; The Amazing Spider-Man 2; San Andreas; Straight Outta Compton; My Best Friend’s Wedding; Robots; Rock of Ages; Doctor Dolittle; Turbo; The Illusionist; Love & Mercy; Sideways; Sabrina; Private Life; Man on the Moon; Future BMT: Fred Claus; Morgan; Ratchet & Clank; Romeo & Juliet; The Nanny Diaries; The Hangover Part II; Duets; Before and After; The Catcher Was a Spy; Pretty Bird; BMT: Big Momma’s House; Lady in the Water; Paycheck; Notes: A very accomplished actor. Has starred in the show Billions for the last few years.)

Budget/Gross – $30,000,000 / Domestic: $117,559,438 (Worldwide: $173,959,438)

(That’s a huge hit. It is quite amazing the cast they were able to rope into films like this back in the day because even rote comedies could pull in $100 million at the drop of a hat. Not surprising they went right back to that well and made a trilogy in the end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (24/81): Big Momma’s House is funny in some parts, but it is essentially a one-joke movie.

(I wouldn’t want it any other way. Sometimes in your life you need one-note comedies. The type of comedy which feels like it was a 2 minute SNL clip stretched out to a film. Reviewer Highlight: The whole project works so hard at creating funny situations that Lawrence gets no chance to be funny as himself. – Robin Rauzi, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Big Momma’s Sklog (B-) 

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(I actually like the turned back pose, it keeps the ludicrousness of Big Momma’s face a secret for the film. I don’t like how it fades to white for the title and credits though, I feel like there is a better way to do that. Solid font work though.)

Tagline(s) – This FBI agent is going undercover… and he’s concealing more than a weapon. (C+)

(Indicates a bit of the plot, but let’s not stoop to dick jokes. It isn’t that he’s a lady, it’s that he’s an old lady. They should have played a bit off of that as well.)

Keyword – gender disguise

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Top 10: Coco (2017), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Willow (1988), Mulan (1998), The Danish Girl (2015), White Chicks (2004), Shakespeare in Love (1998), She’s the Man (2006), Tootsie (1982), Jack and Jill (2011); 

Future BMT: 76.5 Junior (1994), 49.8 Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), 29.3 Who’s Harry Crumb? (1989), 19.8 The Associate (1996), 19.8 Three Fugitives (1989); 

BMT: White Chicks (2004), Jack and Jill (2011), Tango & Cash (1989), Big Momma’s House (2000), Color of Night (1994), Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)

(My god … we’ve watched so many of them. I am excited for Junior. And Willow is obviously the best number one you could ask for. I love the uniform distribution on the plot, legit just a timeless classic.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Martin Lawrence is No. 1 billed in Big Momma’s House and No. 3 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch In Too Deep we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Screenwriter Darryl Quarles came up with the idea for the name “Big Momma” because it was what the neighborhood kids used to call his own real life mother.

Martin Lawrence got in a three day coma from jogging in sweaters with 100 degree weather August 1999 in preparation for this movie.

Nia Long was in talks to join the cast of Charlie’s Angels (2000). She was persuaded to join this film when she was sent a big bunch of roses with the attached note “Come to us where you’ll be the only angel”.

The final scenes required some inventive shooting of Nia Long as the actress was pregnant and had to be shot only from the neck up. (Good for her I suppose)

For any physically active scenes, Martin Lawrence’s fat suit had built-in cooling tubes to help the actor.

Although set in Georgia, the entire film was shot in California. (Aw that is annoying. It is so easy to film in Georgia this days … do we need a reboot?)

That’s a body double in the scene where Ella Mitchell disrobes in the bathroom.

Ella Mitchell is a renowned Broadway actress who’s noted for her superb singing voice. That is Mitchell’s real voice in the film’s final scene where she belts out “Oh Happy Day”.

While Martin Lawrence spends most of the film encased in latex, Ella Mitchell also required some make-up. Her nose wasn’t as big as Lawrence’s so that had to be augmented to make the similarity between the two “women” more believable.

An animated opening was partially completed before it was scrapped. (… Didn’t they do that in the second one. I could be misremembering, but I feel like there was an animated Big Momma opening for that one)

Big Momma’s House 2 Preview

We are starting up the Squeakuels category with one of the most hotly anticipated BMTs that I can remember. We watched the first entry in the trilogy in 2015 and are taking this opportunity to finish the series. That’s right! We’re watching Big Momma’s House 2 and Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son! You really can’t go wrong here. Especially considering Big Momma’s House already gave us one of the best MonoSklogs in history. It’s… it’s… beautiful. Let’s go!

Big Momma’s House 2 (2006) – BMeTric: 66.7

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(Fun fact: Big Momma’s House is the film that helped me discover the weird inflection in the 2011 IMDb vote plots. I saw the inflection while plotting votes for Big Momma’s House, but then realized (tragically) that Big Momma Like Father Like Son came out in 2011 and so it took like four more tests to make sure the bump wasn’t just related to sequels. Obviously 50+ BMeTric is an amazing benchmark, and we are hitting two in the same week! Squeakuel Please!!)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  FBI agent Lawrence again dons a fat suit and transforms himself into the title character; here, he poses as a nanny to spy on the alleged designer of a deadly computer worm. Gratuitous sequel is an uneasy mixture of stale humor and goopy sentiment.

(This plot is already 1000x more realistic than the first one, where we had to convince ourselves it was possible that a man dressed in a fat suit could dupe an entire town into believing he was Big Momma… including her own grandchild. The main hesitance I have is that this sounds almost identical to the plot of The Pacifier, which wasn’t nearly as solid a BMT as the first Big Momma’s.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RkSH3iCZDs

(Wow… just wow. There are a number crimes committed in this trailer that would put Martin Lawrence’s character on a sexual predator list. Also, his Big Momma costume has gotten so good at this point that he would have to spend hours every morning in makeup to apply it. He seemingly can traipse about in the nude and no one notices anything amiss.)

Directors – John Whitesell – (BMT: Big Momma’s House 2; Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Deck the Halls; Malibu’s Most Wanted; See Spot Run; Thunderstruck; Calendar Girl; Notes: Comes from a family of Hollywood heavyweights, including his brother Patrick Whitesell who is co-CEO of WME with Ari Emanuel.)

Writers – Don Rhymer (written by) – (Known For: The Santa Clause 2; Rio 2; Rio; Surf’s Up; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2; Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House; Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London; Deck the Halls; The Honeymooners; Carpool; Notes: Interestingly is credited with ‘script revisions’ on Black Knight, the other Darryl Quarles film. So was a big part of bringing all of Quarles’ credits to screen in the end.)

Darryl Quarles (characters) – (BMT: Big Momma’s House 2; Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Notes: This dude was big for a minute with Big Momma’s House and Black Knight being made back-to-back. Just a character credit for this one though.)

Actors – Martin Lawrence – (Known For: Bad Boys; Do the Right Thing; Life; Death at a Funeral; Open Season; House Party; Boomerang; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2; Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Black Knight; College Road Trip; Big Momma’s House (BMT) Rebound; National Security; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; Wild Hogs (BMT); House Party 2; Blue Streak; A Thin Line Between Love and Hate; Bad Boys II; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2012 for Worst Actress for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. Kind of amazed he has only been nominated once. I grew up seeing him on Martin, but probably best known for things like Bad Boys. Has had a long history with over working (including collapsing while jogging in a fat suit in preparation for the original Big Momma’s House) resulting in several high profile hospitalizations and arrests.)

Emily Procter – (Known For: Jerry Maguire; Leaving Las Vegas; Barry Munday; The Big Tease; Guinevere; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2; Body Shots; Notes: A major star (over 200 episodes) of CSI Miami she has a shockingly small feature filmography. She sings in a 1980s cover band (formerly called White Lightning, it is now called Motion). Unfortunately I can’t seem to find their touring schedule online.)

Nia Long – (Known For: Keanu; Friday; Boyz n the Hood; The Best Man Holiday; Boiler Room; The Best Man; Alfie; Soul Food; Love Jones; The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy; Baadasssss!; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2; Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Big Momma’s House; Made in America; Premonition; The Single Moms Club; Held Up; Stigmata; Notes: Most famous for Pringles Mom’s Club. Just joshing. Nothing too interesting outside of standard personal stuff, but her next project appears to be starring in a remake of the 1988 film Beaches alongside Idina Menzel.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $70,165,972 (Worldwide: $138,259,062)

(A phenomenon! It really it very impressive how much money this movie made, although I would think they were hoping to crack $100 million like the original. Still, no wonder a third movie was made.)

#43 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

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(Recent viewings include Paul Blart 2 and Ride Along 2. I do love these plots because, and this will become more obvious in the next few weeks I think, previous plots suggest that sequels come in waves. I’ve said previously that it is like Hollywood must replenish their store of bad sequels. We are approaching a fall. It has just occurred to me that the Bad Movie Golden Age of 2005-2010 came during a sequel drought … perhaps truly inspired garbage films can only be made after being unshackled from money grabbing sequels. One can hope.)

#6 for the Cross Dressing / Gender Bending genre: Movies where it’s at the forefront, excluding animation and documentaries.

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(Oh shit! Right at the peak of the cross-dressing-ploitation phase of Hollywood (I presume … is my history of Hollywood off?). More seriously, nearly a quarter of all 40 movies listed here were made in 2004-2006 … which is astonishing. Having dropped financially from the heady heights of …. well, Mrs. Doubtfire I guess. But still, I assume this genre will go extinct. And honestly? I don’t see why it shouldn’t.)

#16 for the Comedy – Fat Suit genre

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(Everything about these charts is incredible. Yet another peak! One-third of all fat suit movies were made between 2004 and 2006. What is happening in this world!? This genre is also dying, the financial picture looks dire. You can basically plot a straight line down to zero on that plot.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (4/71): Unfunny and unoriginal. In other words, a perfect piece of evidence for opponents of pointless movie sequels.

(Ooooof, sub-10% is stunning. And there is no way the third installment does significantly better either, so we are likely doubling up on sub-10% films this week. This has the faint whiff of White Chicks to me. Like … you know they’re going to basically make the fact that people pretending to be other people doesn’t work the way they portray it kind of part of the joke. Remember … how the White Chicks looked like horror film monsters and no one noticed? Like that.)

Poster – Big Momma’s Sklog 2 (D+)

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(Not a fan. What is even the framing in this poster? Just Big Momma standing in front of… sky? Is she on a cliff? Font is easy (Big Momma Sklog 2) and doesn’t tell me a story. Boo on all fronts. Nothing truly ugly, but nothing good either.)

Tagline(s) – The Momma of all Comedies is Back. (D+)

(Gross. Both the poster and tagline are just lazy. I hate these types of taglines. Unacceptable Big Momma’s House 2. We need more than this from you.)

Keyword(s) – undercover; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.1 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 72.4 Barb Wire (1996); 70.6 Taxi (I) (2004); 69.1 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989); 66.7 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 63.9 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 62.5 On Deadly Ground (1994); 61.3 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005); 60.0 Big Momma’s House (2000); 57.8 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006);

(Besides the last one it is an impressive list. Speaking of Squeakuels if we just shined off Miss Congeniality and Police Academy (ugh) we would have basically shined off of this incredible list.)

Notes – Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel & Nicholas Stoller provided uncredited rewrites to Don Rhymer’s script. (You know, I expected more better notes from this movie. Where are the notes about the producers trying to get Giamatti back or something?)