Big Momma's House (Rental) (2000)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 94:49
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Raja Gosnell

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Martin Lawrence
Nia Long
Paul Giamatti
Terence Howard
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI Rental Music Richard Gibbs

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Big Momma's House can best be described as a "filler" film. It's not a really good film, but it's not a really bad film either. It's standard studio fare, pumped out with little attention to any of the niceties like plot originality and character development, and it satisfies like the proverbial Chinese dinner.

    What we have here is essentially the skinny guy in the fat guy, or should that be fat Momma, suit, a la Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor. In this version, FBI agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence) and his partner John (Paul Giamatta) pursue a bank robber/murderer after his escape from prison. They suspect the criminal's girlfriend Sherry (Nia Long) of being an accomplice to the crimes and of having $2 million stashed away. Picking her up at her grandmother's home seems to be the easiest route to success for solving all the crimes, so they stake out Big Momma's (Ella Mitchell) house and wait. Big Momma is larger than life in more ways than one, but her departure for the city seems to ruin all the FBI's plans. That is until Malcolm uses his remarkable talent for impersonation and replaces Big Momma in her own home. (What luck, having a fat lady impersonation kit cunningly deployed in the boot of the car!)

    The ruse works - Sherry moves in, the townsfolk don't notice any changes in Big Momma, and even Sherry doesn't realize that she's sharing a bed with a guy. The problem is that Malcolm starts falling for Sherry, even though she's supposed to be a prime suspect in his case. The progression to the end of the film isn't difficult to figure out, even from this distance.

    The film's one redeeming feature is that it maintains a sense of brightness and jollity throughout. This allows it to painlessly skip along from one comic set piece to the next until the ending comes along right on schedule. To be fair, some of these set pieces are quite funny - the childbirth scene will generate more than a smile for anyone who's been through the real thing (from either side). The few people I know who've seen the film praise it for its light entertainment value, but I prefer something a little more original. Martin Lawrence does a commendable job of impersonating a woman, but a "Mrs Doubtfire" or "Tootsie" this certainly is not. For an example of the poor quality control on this film, check out the case of the vanishing gaffer tape at about the 24 minute mark - having drawn attention to this prop during one of the jokes it's just not good enough to lose it in the very next scene.

    This disc is available in a rental version only for the time being.

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Transfer Quality


    Having just described this film as being a piece of fluff it's nice to see the disc being given the standard fluff treatment - i.e. a pretty good video transfer.

    The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Picture clarity is good throughout and in some parts borders on being very good. Some early scenes appeared to show a minor graininess, although this might have been influenced by my general indifference to the film, and once objectivity returned so apparently did the image quality. Shadow detail was quite acceptable although I wouldn't go raving about the amount of subtle detail that showed up. Many external scenes were shot at night, and remained clear and detailed. There was no low level noise, and no discernible edge enhancement.

    Quaint American towns just don't seem to be sufficiently alive with colour to test out DVD's capabilities, but there are plenty of opportunities for the blues, greens and whites of the background, and the myriad colours showing up in the foreground to show up realistically. Some of the scenes down by the lake are particularly attractive colour-wise. All colours are fully saturated without being cartoonish.

    With the exception of a few absolutely tiny little marks on the print there are really no artefacts of any type showing up anywhere in the film. I suppose that should be expected for such a new film, but you can see what I mean about satisfying like a Chinese meal - there's not even anything here for me to write about!

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The sole audio track is in English and gets the full digital 5.1 treatment.

    Dialogue is absolutely clear for every line of dialogue, and in perfect sync.

    The music contains a large number of modern songs, and this is the area where the soundtrack most consistently proves its power. The effect is strong and forceful across the entire frequency range, without ever overwhelming the dialogue. The original material is forgettable (at least I forgot it).

    Surround and subwoofer activity is minimal, although the subwoofer certainly does lend support to the music tracks. Perhaps the one exception to this generally flat soundscape is at 59:48 when a thunderstorm lights up the entire room (sonically speaking) with glorious surround and bass effects. Unfortunately it's all over as quickly as it began, and we're returned to the dialogue and music-focussed audio.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   This disc has been superceded by the sell-through version.


    If you can't detect my general indifference to this film, you haven't been reading closely enough. Sure, it's got some laughs, a happy ending and actually a rather good toilet scene, it's got a sound video transfer and probably a reasonable rendition of the original audio track, but it's also filmmaking by the book. There's nothing original and nothing special. Go rent it for a cheap night in, but only if you're undemanding.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Murray Glase (read my bio)
Wednesday, January 17, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D906S
SpeakersRichter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)

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