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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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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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