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Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

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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Marie-Rose Durocher: Canada was one diocese from coast to coast during the first eight years of Marie-Rose Durocher’s life. Its half-million Catholics had received civil and religious liberty from the English only 44 years before. When Marie-Rose was 29, Bishop Ignace Bourget became bishop of Montreal. He would be a decisive influence in her life. 
<p>He faced a shortage of priests and sisters and a rural population that had been largely deprived of education. Like his counterparts in the United States, he scoured Europe for help and himself founded four communities, one of which was the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Its first sister and reluctant co-foundress was Marie-Rose. </p><p>She was born in a little village near Montreal in 1811, the 10th of 11 children. She had a good education, was something of a tomboy, rode a horse named Caesar and could have married well. At 16, she felt the desire to become a religious but was forced to abandon the idea because of her weak constitution. At 18, when her mother died, her priest brother invited her and her father to come to his parish in Beloeil, not far from Montreal. For 13 years she served as housekeeper, hostess and parish worker. She became well known for her graciousness, courtesy, leadership and tact; she was, in fact, called “the saint of Beloeil.” Perhaps she was too tactful during two years when her brother treated her coldly. </p><p>As a young woman she had hoped there would someday be a community of teaching sisters in every parish, never thinking she would found one. But her spiritual director, Father Pierre Telmon, O.M.I., after thoroughly (and severely) leading her in the spiritual life, urged her to found a community herself. Bishop Bourget concurred, but Marie-Rose shrank from the prospect. She was in poor health and her father and her brother needed her. </p><p>She finally agreed and, with two friends, Melodie Dufresne and Henriette Cere, entered a little home in Longueuil, across the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal. With them were 13 young girls already assembled for boarding school. Longueuil became successively her Bethlehem, Nazareth and Gethsemani. She was 32 and would live only six more years—years filled with poverty, trials, sickness and slander. The qualities she had nurtured in her “hidden” life came forward—a strong will, intelligence and common sense, great inner courage and yet a great deference to directors. Thus was born an international congregation of women religious dedicated to education in the faith. </p><p>She was severe with herself and by today’s standards quite strict with her sisters. Beneath it all, of course, was an unshakable love of her crucified Savior. </p><p>On her deathbed the prayers most frequently on her lips were “Jesus, Mary, Joseph! Sweet Jesus, I love you. Jesus, be to me Jesus!” Before she died, she smiled and said to the sister with her, “Your prayers are keeping me here—let me go.” </p><p>She was beatified in 1982.</p> American Catholic Blog It is in them [the saints] that Christian love becomes credible; they are the poor sinners’ guiding stars. But every one of them wishes to point completely away from himself and toward love…. The genuine saints desired nothing but the greater glory of God’s love… <br />—Hans Urs von Balthasar

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