Big Momma’s House

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By Mark Ramsey | 2000/06/04

Quietly I crept into the 117th USC commencement ceremony to see Disney chief Michael Eisner address the graduating class of 2000. Eisner was introduced as “one of the country’s greatest business leaders of all time and the autobiographer of Work in Progress, a.k.a. ‘Chicken Soup for the Power Monger’s Soul.’”

Can this be the man who hired Regis to make millionaires out of dozens of Midwestern white guys? Regis, whose teeth have been sand-blasted so many times, he whispers and you hear the ocean?

I flicked on my tape recorder….

“Thank you, UCLA!

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First off, quit folding head shots into paper airplanes and tossing them at me. This is a cap and tassel, not a control tower for Chrissake.

Now I know you guys are about to enter the big world full of big concerns. That’s why I’m here to talk to you about something really important: E-mail!

Maybe it was arrogance on my part, but four years ago Joe Roth told me “e-mail” stands for “Eisner-mail,” and I believed him.

What really sets you kids apart is not that you’re the first class of the millennium but that you’re the first class of e-mail. If that makes you sound less important than you thought you were, now you know why Jeff Katzenberg’s over at DreamWorks.

E-mail isn’t just about speed, you know, it’s about unscreened emotion. Take it from me, nothing looks worse in e-mail than the phrase ‘little midget.’

I have noticed of late that the intensity of emotions within our competitive company is higher than usual. Not because of e-mail, but because, contrary to public belief, animators have testosterone levels so far beyond the norm the Red Cross taps them like Vermont Maples in syrup season. We keep a Norelco razor handy in the animation building because unwanted body hair sprouts at the least convenient times.

By the way, you’re also the first graduating class to see Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House, which is every bit as dangerous as e-mail. This is a Fox picture, so I don’t have to pretend I like it the way I do with a lot of our Miramax product.

This house has one hell of a big back door, I’ll tell you!

Martin Lawrence impersonates an old lady dressed in 20-million bucks worth of foam latex and one really cheap wig. Strangely, the real Big Momma looks nothing like Martin’s version and is about 100-lbs heavier, but if you people will buy Tony Hopkins as Nixon, you’ll buy anything.

There’s a lesson deep in the enormous folds of Big Momma’s extravagantly proportioned posterior: Fat people are funny whenever they do stuff that only skinny people are supposed to do, like breathe and walk at the same time.

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As usual, Martin Lawrence is way better than his material. This guy does good work when he’s not in jail or in a coma! Unfortunately, costar Nia Long is no Halle Berry – and her teeth are so damned white I saw the word “Steinway” stamped on her upper lip.

I’ll give this to Big Momma’s House: There are a couple of very funny moments, including one where Martin as Momma helps a Sister give birth. That’s what they’re called, right, Sisters? I’m down with the jargon!

It’s not fair and it’s not right, but surveys show that White folks generally don’t see Martin Lawrence movies just like Black folks don’t see Woody Allen movies. Then again, White folks don’t see Woody Allen movies either, so maybe Martin’s onto something.

If I wanna see guys dressed like old ladies, I’ll wait for Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor sequel, or better yet, I’ll hop in the passenger side of Eddie’s ride and pick up needy transvestites down Hollywood Boulevard.

So finally, kids, some words of advice: Forget sunscreen, just remove all facial hair – especially you gals from the Bay area.

To you juniors out there, I’ll see you next year when I speak on the evils of ‘chat.’”

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