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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Brandon T. Jackson and Martin Lawrence star in "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son."
Put Martin Lawrence in a dress and, it seems, you can take him literally anywhere.

Decades from now, scholars will, no doubt, pore over his films and write dissertations on "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son" (Fox)—the third installment in the "Big Momma" franchise that began with 2000's "Big Momma's House"—debating its place in the pantheon of men donning a fat suit and a dress, commiserating with women and finding their sensitive side.

For now, though, it will suffice to mention that the movie, although warm, is somewhat bland as comedies go.

Lawrence, having exhausted the comic possibilities—dubious to begin with—of eyeing nubile girls in his cross-dressed Big Momma guise, has turned that task over to Brandon T. Jackson. Jackson plays Trent, the son of Lawrence's real persona, FBI agent Malcolm, who poses as Big Momma's grandniece at an Atlanta girls' school. In this outing, Big Momma mostly delivers a number of rote falling-down gags.

To their considerable credit, director John Whitesell and screenwriter Matthew Fogel don't turn this into a leer-a-thon, but instead focus on Trent's choice between attending Duke University and making a quick payday with his rap group. Decisions made while young, the script points out, last far into adult life.

Having been caught up in an FBI informant's fatal encounter with mobsters, Trent is forced to join his resourceful father in drag at the fictional Atlanta Girls School for the Arts while Malcolm searches for a flash drive that will convict the bad guys.

Working as a housemother, Big Momma fends off some romantic advances, Trent gets to show off his musical skills, the students are instilled with some old-fashioned discipline and—a bit of untoward vocabulary aside—there's not much here to offend mature viewers. Though whether there's much to delight them is another question.

The film contains some gun violence, fleeting crude and crass language, and a partial rear view of a body suit. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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