What a drag

Simon & Garfunkel rehearse.

Simon & Garfunkel rehearse.

Rated 1.0

Man, I didn’t even know Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son was being created until a few weeks ago. Or maybe I knew at one time or another, but my brain was blocking the info, protecting me from mental harm like a momma bear sheltering its cubs from dudes with big guns and beer guts.

The movie is just about as bad as one might expect it to be. Actually, it’s worse than that, and even worse than the two preceding Big Momma movies, something I didn’t think was possible.

Martin Lawrence returns as Malcolm, the FBI agent who goes undercover as Big Momma, the obese alter ego that is so obviously somebody wearing a fat suit. Lawrence, of course, returns to this worn out shtick of talking really slow and wheezy in making believe he’s an old Southern woman in a muumuu. The whole world goes stupid when his wigged self waddles into a room, with everybody being duped by his Mrs. Potato Head disguise.

The twist this time out is that Malcolm’s son Trent (Brandon T. Jackson, a long way from his Tropic Thunder glory days) witnesses a murder and must now dress as a woman, too. His alter ego is Charmaine, and he can switch into his gear quicker than Clark Kent becoming Superman. Malcolm and Trent wind up going undercover and chasing evidence at an all-girl art school, where Big Momma becomes House Mother and gets a residence among the young women. So you basically get Bosom Buddies without the comic genius that was Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari.

Of course, art school means music, and this movie has the unmitigated audacity to inflict multiple musical numbers upon us. There’s a cafeteria rap that turns into an all-out jam featuring instruments that clearly aren’t being played, yet they magically appear on the soundtrack. There are numerous moments when Trent sings lubby-dubby stuff with Haley (Jessica Lucas), his milquetoast love interest.

Trent is also a rap star wannabe, and his big song, “Lyrical Miracle,” is repeated ad nauseam throughout the film. Jackson’s attempt at musical stardom via this film reminded me of the Saved by the Bell band Zack Attack when that cast performed the audio nightmare “Friends Forever.” That’s how bad this movie is. It reminded me of Mario Lopez playing drums and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen singing in Zack Attack. Yeah, I hate this movie. (It should be noted that Screech wasn’t half bad on keyboards.)

The film is directed by John Whitesell, who also helmed the first sequel, and his “Yay, I’m a Director!” card should be revoked. Raja Gosnell directed the original, along with two Scooby Doo movies, Home Alone 3 and the upcoming Smurfs movie. Will somebody please stop these guys? It’s very simple: When either one of them says “Hey, I wanna make a movie!” just give them a cookie or a banana and tell them to go play on the swing set. That trick totally worked on Mel Brooks after he directed Dracula: Dead and Loving It 16 years ago.

In supporting roles, there’s Faizon Love as Kurtis Kool, a campus security guard who wants to have sex with Big Momma and forces her/him into a revolting game of Twister. (Faizon, you must murder your agent now!) There’s also Portia Doubleday, so good in the Michael Cera vehicle Youth in Revolt, playing the campus snoot. Finally, Ken Jeong, who showed his little penis in The Hangover, does something even more humiliating and destructive to his career by simply appearing in this film.

Is this the end for Big Momma? Sadly, I think not. These things still make a lot of money. As for Jackson’s singing career, I heard teenagers singing “Lyrical Miracle” in the theater lobby, so he could have a hit on his hands. If such is the case, Satan is surely among us.