You know how Johnny Carson made no bones about how he had stolen all his best schtick from Jack Benny? Carson was upfront and honest about how Benny had influenced him to the point where he had just lifted Benny’s mannerisms and delivery. The thing is that Carson then took it to another level. He made it his own and molded it into something unique to himself.
I wish Martin Lawrence was that upfront about owing his entire career to doing what amounts to a Eddie Murphy impersonation. From his stand-up specials, where he took the crudeness of Murphy’s routines and surgically removing the comedy, to his film roles where he’s pretty much taken everything Murphy has done and countered it with similar films that are crap. Where Murphy dressed up in a fat suit for his Nutty Professor trainwre…I mean movies Lawrence has donned the same wardrobe for not one but now two entries in the Big Momma’s House series.
(The Lawrence/Murphy analogy is even funnier if you consider that he’s tried to have the career of Murphy while at the same time working toward the police record of Murphy’s 48 Hours co-star Nick Nolte. Takes it to a whole new level.)
Don’t consider that constructive criticism? OK, how about this: Lawrence dressed up in fat suit and a dress that he hikes up to show his FBI credentials stuffed in a garter may be the single most disturbing image of the last decade. It helps tremendously that Lawrence is holding up two fingers, letting us know – just in case we can’t read the friggin’ title on the poster – that this is the second movie. Way to show just how dumb you feel your target audience actually is.
There was also a teaser poster that just showed Lawrence in drag from the back. Same tagline but without the movie’s title. If it’s possible it’s even more gag-inducing than the theatrical poster, if for no other reason that it is, in essence, a huge shot of Lawrence’s ass.
Still not constructive? Lawrence appears without make up in exactly one shot during the whole trailer. The rest is mainly devoted to Big Momma and how she apparently spends the entire movie walking around a woman’s spa where he/she gets to ogle beautiful ladies and make weird inappropriate – but not actually funny – comments. There’s a joke, and I use the word loosely, about a thong that Lawrence’s wife finds that is about as wide as New Jersey.
What the trailer lacks (aside from humor) is any semblance of plot or story. Of course I’m assuming there is some in the movie, which might be a mistake. But what does it say about the movie that they don’t even try to relate any plot points? I’m just saying.
Well there’s not much there, which is a statement you can also apply to the movie as a whole. Really there are only six sections to the site so let’s just get through this as quickly as possible, heh?
Story is just a one-paragraph synopsis of the movie that I would highly recommend over paying money to see the actual film. On the plus side it gets some points for using the phrase “corpulent septuagenarian”, which may – and I’m not completely sure about this – be more letters than the script itself contained. That’s pure speculation, but I’m probably not far off.
Under Cast & Crew there are a couple sub-sections. The “Cast” part is just real quick recaps of the careers of the major players in the flick. The one thing that stands out is most of the cast, with the exceptions of Nia Long, seem to have done most of their work in TV. It reminds me of a scene from “Arrested Development” where the warden of a prison, played by James Lipton, tells Tobias Bluth, played by David Cross, that he is “a television actor” in a way that makes the statement very much an insult. Good stuff. When you go over to the “Crew” section you’ll see that the TV connection holds true since director John Whitesell is also a TV veteran.
I love how the “Production Notes” make a big deal about how the five-year lapse between movies was primarily due to Lawrence’s schedule and everyone wanting to make sure the script was even better than the first one. I have to believe the intern tasked to write this just couldn’t keep a straight face while typing it in. I just have to.
Anyway, the Gallery contains a dozen stills from the movie. Most of them, again, show Lawrence as Big Momma. There’s one of Long holding the same huge-ass thong featured in the trailer and some of the family that, for some reason, he has moved in with.
Downloads has some “Buddy Icons” and “Wallpapers” and that’s it. The Trailer link actually opens a new window and redirects to Apple’s site so it’s only available in Quicktime. Finally, if you mouse over the image of Big Momma in the lower right-hand corner you can make her do a little dance.
I have to imagine that any 20th Century Fox rep with an ounce of self-respect will disown this movie like a spy caught on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. The fact that, throughout the entire campaign, less than a half-dozen images of Lawrence without the Big Momma costume appear speaks volumes about the movie as a whole. The poster is just crap, the trailer contains no plot points and I’ve seen better websites built through GeoCities. It’s a crappy campaign unless you’re one of those people who cut themselves for pleasure. Then it’s fantastic.
Posted on January 25, 2006 in Features by Chris Thilk
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