Australian Council on Children and the Media

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

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Not recommended under 12, PG to 15 (Violence, sexual references, coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
  • a review of Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 February 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to violence, sexual references and coarse language.
Children 12-14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, sexual references and coarse language.
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence and coarse language
Length 107 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

At the beginning of the latest “Big Momma” film, things are going well for FBI agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence). He has just received a letter announcing that his stepson Trent (Brandon T Jackson) has been accepted into Duke University.

Malcolm’s informant Canetti (Max Casella) is about to meet with a local crime lord named Chirkoff (Tony Curran) in an attempt to get Chirkoff to incriminate himself on tape. Apparently Canetti already has a flash-drive containing incriminating evidence against Chirkoff.  Unfortunately, Trent arrives unannounced and witnesses Chirkoff murdering Canetti. Before Canetti dies, he tells Malcolm that the flash-drive containing the incriminating evidence has been stashed in a music box at a girls’ school in Atlanta.

Malcolm decides that the only way to protect Trent and recover the flash-drive is for the pair to go undercover and attend the all-girls school. Malcolm once again disguises himself as Big Momma and Trent becomes Big Momma’s grand-niece Charmaine.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Crime; cross dressing

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains some action violence and school-yard bullying as well as slapstick violence. Some of this may be imitated by children. Examples include:

  • Malcolm, in an SUV, forces a mail van off the road.  He jumps on the mailman and demands that he hands over his mail or he will “pop one in your arse”. The entire scene is done in an over the top comedic manner. 
  • During a confrontation between Malcolm, his informant and three criminals we see: the criminals holding a gun to the informant’s head with the criminals threatening to kill him. There is a fist fight including punches to the face and Malcolm and the criminals shoot at each other. Malcolm’s informant is shot in the back as he tried to run away and one man then stands over the informant and shoots him dead execution style (we do not see the actual shot being fired with the act inferred).
  • Big Momma grabs Trent’s crotch in an effort to force him to talk with a high pitched (girl’s) voice; Trent gasps in pain.
  • While in the school cafeteria, a girl named Jasmine bullies Charmaine by announcing, “We have fresh meat that wants to eat”. On another occasion, Jasmine refers to Charmaine as “America’s sexiest buffalo.
  • Big Momma slaps Trent across the back of the head.
  • Charmaine accidentally falls on a female student and we hear the sound of bones crunching.
  • Big Momma threatens a male security guard, saying “Touch me again and I will knock you into next summer.
  • Chirkoff tells one of his henchmen, “Take him, we’ll kill him later”.
  • When Harley learns that she has been deceived by Trent she slaps Trent hard across the face.
  • Chirkoff and two of his armed henchmen chase Haley and Trent. They shoot at Big Momma who uses a large book to knock them unconscious.
  • Chirkoff holds Haley and Trent at gunpoint and two henchmen pointing their guns at Big Momma. Big Momma and Trent punch the gunmen in the face, then kick them in the legs knocking them down.
  • A security guard fires a taser gun at Chirkoff and he falls unconscious.                     

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

As well as the above-mentioned violent scenes, children in this age group may be disturbed by some other scenes in the film, including:

  • Younger children may be confused by the cross-dressing in the film
  • Several scenes of accidental harm, as when while dancing on top of a table, Big Momma slips and crashes through the table to land hard on her back on the ground
  • A female student bursts into tears when she receives a text message from her boyfriend breaking off the relationship.
  • A scary car chase when Big Momma jumps into a car with a student behind the steering wheel and orders her to follow a speeding car. They pursue the speeding car in a reckless manner, nearly colliding with a truck. The car side-swipes a stone wall causing sparks to fly and comes to rest in an upright position balancing on its front wheels.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple laptop computers
  • mobile phones
  • various makes of car

Sexual references

The film contains sexual references and innuendo scattered throughout. Examples include:

  • Seeing a school yard full of attractive teenage school girls, Trent says “I can see straight to the promise land” and later, “So many girls, a festival of flavours”.
  • In relation to viewing a girl’s cleavage Trent make the comment “Sweet fruit salad”.
  • Charmaine/Trent tells Haley that she is “hot”.
  • After flirting with Big Momma, a male security guard says “Big legged woman’s gunna kill me” and later calling Big Momma a “beautiful thing” and a “priestess of delight”. 
  • After Charmaine/Trent accidentally falls on top of Big Momma/Malcolm during a ballet rehearsal we hear Big Momma make the comment “Now I know why it’s called the Nut Cracker”.
  • We see Charmaine/Trent together in a change-room with Haley stripped down to her underwear. Trent makes excuses to leave the change-room saying “something came up”.
  • Big Momma makes the comment that Vaseline is god’s gift to black people.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A back view of Charmaine/Trent urinating, holding up his dress.
  • On several occasions we see a male security guard flirting with Big Momma and on one occasion, the security guard attempts to slap Big Momma on the bottom. 
  • Girls wearing brief and tight clothes and group of girls dancing in revealing nighties.  
  • An attractive female model wearing a robe enters a classroom full of schoolgirls. The teacher tells the class that their nude model has arrived but Big Momma steps in and prevents the model from disrobing.
  • Big Momma lies across a table with a sheet draped across her body. We see Big Momma’s exposed legs, arms, back and buttocks. As a teacher rips away Big Momma’s sheet a fire alarm sounds and the scene cuts without revealing Big Momma totally naked.           
  • Trent goes on a date with Haley and they pair hug and kiss passionately.
  • Big Momma and a large security guard play Twister with their arms and legs entwined around each other.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A man drinks in a bar
  • A security guard hands Big

Coarse language

The film contains some low-level coarse language and putdowns/name calling, including:

  • Arse, take a leak, shit, sweet Jesus, guys are such tools.   
  • Crazy parent, idiot, stupid, fat ladies, two timing dog. 

In a nutshell

Big Mommas: Like Father like Son is the third in the “Big Momma” series of cross-dressing comedies, targeting an adolescent and younger adult audience. The film relies heavily on old jokes, slapstick comedy and sexual innuendo to entertain its audience but contains fewer crude joke and less sexual innuendo than its two predecessors. While a few laughs can be had from the film’s slapstick content, the film is generally a disappointment.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Gaining an education while you are young is more important than following your dreams, which will be waiting for you after you have acquired an education.
  • To be yourself and not pretend to be what you are not. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The importance of self esteem: Throughout the film Big Momma repeatedly encourages teenage school girls to develop self esteem.
  • Selflessness and courage, as displayed by Trent when he risks his life to protect Haley from Chirkoff and his henchmen.  

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The stereotypical picture of teenage girls that the film presents

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