A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the third installment in the Big Momma franchise is less obnoxious than the second, Big Momma's House 2, and considerably tamer in terms of over-the-top, crude jokes. That said, there's still a good bit of sexual innuendo (although it's usually expressed by a teenager's wide-eyed exclamation of "damn!") and language (mostly "ass" and "s--t"). Big Momma is a positive influence on the girls she's in charge of and tries to encourage them to ditch bad boyfriends, eat in a healthy manner, and tell the truth. Still, this isn't exactly a message movie, and most of the comedy is broad and lowbrow.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
FBI agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence) is having a good day -- his stepson Trent (Brandon T. Jackson) receives an acceptance letter to Duke University, and Canetti (Max Casella), his informant on an important case, is about to wear a wire at a meeting with a crime lord. But things take a wrong turn when Trent shows up at the scene and witnesses Russian mob boss Chirkoff (Tony Curran) kill Canetti. Turner decides to disguise himself once more as Big Momma -- with Trent as his grand-niece, Charmaine -- in order to attend an all-girls school for the performing arts, where Canetti stashed a flash drive containing incriminating evidence against Chirkoff. While undercover, Trent falls for Haley (Jessica Lucas), a beautiful aspiring singer, and Big Momma charms the supersized-woman-loving school security guard (Faizon Love), who may know where the flash drive is hidden.
Is it any good?
There are fewer crude jokes in this threequel, which is obviously aimed at young teens, than there were in Big Momma's House 2; that's the good news. Plus, there are a couple of Glee-meets-Fame moments in which Jackson and the girls break into spontaneous song (and dance). But aside from a silly little scene in which Jackson and Lawrence do a little dance routine to a Temptations song, even the performances fall flat. This is a most unnecessary movie.
It's disappointing, because Jackson -- who's made a living playing the comic-relief in Tropic Thunder, Percy Jackson, The Lottery Ticket, and more -- is a pretty talented young actor, but he needs to show he can do something clever, not this lowbrow comedy. He should be trying to stretch himself, like Jamie Foxx, Will Smith, or even Marlon Wayans (in Requiem for a Dream) did earlier in their careers. Cross-dressing is a tried and true movie staple in comedies, and when it works, it can be amazing (Some Like It Hot, The Birdcage, Mrs. Doubtfire). Unfortunately, this particular series is just a drag.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why cross-dressing comedies are popular. Why are there so many more drag comedies with men dressed up as women instead of the reverse?
How does this movie portray teenage girls? Is it that common for girls to have eating disorders and throw lingerie-flaunting pajama parties? What do you think about Trent's comment about shopping being for girls what sports is for guys?
What does cross-dressing teach Trent about girls? Does it help him treat girls better?
What's the lesson about going to college versus skipping it to pursue your dreams?
- In theaters: February 18, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: June 14, 2011
- Cast: Brandon T. Jackson, Jessica Lucas, Martin Lawrence
- Director: John Whitesell
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual humor and brief violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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