Big Momma's House 2 director John Whitesell returns for this third outing for the cross-dressing FBI agent whose talents for disguise enable him to blend unobtrusively into any milieu as an obese old woman in an entirly convincing wig. Also returning is Martin Lawrence as the titular Big Momma/FBI agent Malcolm Turner. With the key talent in place, how can Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son fail to live up to the gold standard set by its predecessors?
One potential wild card is writer Matthew Fogel, whose first produced script this is. What are Fogel's credentials and is this much-loved franchise safe in his hands? Well, his screenplay The Tutor made it onto the 2008 Black List - Hollywood's list of favourite unproduced screenplays currently knocking around studios, curated by Universal exec Franklin Leonard. Fogel shared the 2008 list with Jason Reitman's Up In The Air, Bert Royal's Easy A and Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. So he should be equal to the task before him.
Another sensitive new element in play here is Malcolm/Momma's stepson/daughter Trent/Charmaine, portrayed by young thespian Brandon T Jackson. Hardier franchises than this have faltered with the introduction of major new characters at this late stage. Thankfully, in Mr Jackson, we have an entertainer of a certain calibre. Who can forget his "Uncredited Club Goer" in 8 Mile or the creation known only as "Target Tech" in timely 2008 remake The Day The Earth Stood Still? Still fewer would argue that Fast & Furious would have been the same without his "BMW Driver".
Sadly, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son proves once again that in the elusive art of cinema, it's possible to assemble as talented a team as you like and still fall short of your best intentions. Still, fans of the series will probably forgive them.