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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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Catherine of Siena: The value Catherine makes central in her short life and which sounds clearly and consistently through her experience is complete surrender to Christ. What is most impressive about her is that she learns to view her surrender to her Lord as a goal to be reached through time. 
<p>She was the 23rd child of Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa and grew up as an intelligent, cheerful and intensely religious person. Catherine disappointed her mother by cutting off her hair as a protest against being overly encouraged to improve her appearance in order to attract a husband. Her father ordered her to be left in peace, and she was given a room of her own for prayer and meditation. </p><p>She entered the Dominican Third Order at 18 and spent the next three years in seclusion, prayer and austerity. Gradually a group of followers gathered around her—men and women, priests and religious. An active public apostolate grew out of her contemplative life. Her letters, mostly for spiritual instruction and encouragement of her followers, began to take more and more note of public affairs. Opposition and slander resulted from her mixing fearlessly with the world and speaking with the candor and authority of one completely committed to Christ. She was cleared of all charges at the Dominican General Chapter of 1374. </p><p>Her public influence reached great heights because of her evident holiness, her membership in the Dominican Third Order, and the deep impression she made on the pope. She worked tirelessly for the crusade against the Turks and for peace between Florence and the pope </p><p>In 1378, the Great Schism began, splitting the allegiance of Christendom between two, then three, popes and putting even saints on opposing sides. Catherine spent the last two years of her life in Rome, in prayer and pleading on behalf of the cause of Urban VI and the unity of the Church. She offered herself as a victim for the Church in its agony. She died surrounded by her "children" and was canonized in 1461. </p><p>Catherine ranks high among the mystics and spiritual writers of the Church. In 1939, she and Francis of Assisi were declared co-patrons of Italy. Paul VI named her and Teresa of Avila doctors of the Church in 1970. Her spiritual testament is found in <i>The Dialogue</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The gates of hell cannot withstand the power of heaven. Gates of sin melt in the presence of saving grace; gates of death fall in the presence of eternal life; gates of falsehood collapse in the presence of living truth; gates of violence are flattened in the presence of divine love. These are the tools with which Christ has equipped his Church.

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