BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE 2 Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 2006 Film Length: 99 minutes Genre: Comedy Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Theatrical Ratio 1.33:1 Full Screen Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English 5.1 Surround Spanish 2.0 Surround French 2.0 Surround Subtitles: Spanish, French Film Rating: Release Date: May 9, 2006. Film Rating: / Martin Lawrence (Malcolm/Big Mamma), Nia Long (Sherri), Emily Procter (Leah Fuller), Mark Moses (Tom Fuller), Chloe Moretz (Carrie Fuller), Zachary Levi (Agent Kevin Kennelly), Marisol Nichols (Agent Liliana Morales) Written by: Don Rhymer Directed by: John Whitesell The Momma of all Comedies is Back. FBI agent Malcolm Turner has given up his agent status to help out school kids with safety. He has a newborn on the way and wants to spend more time with his family away from the FBI office. But when his friend in the FBI has been murdered, he secretly sneaks into and interrupts the FBI plans to discover the case – in a Big Momma suit. Of course the FBI doesn’t know Big Mamma is Malcolm; Malcolm is supposed to stay clear of the job. So with his alter-ego southern-speaking granny gets into the suspect’s house as a housekeeper, he plans to find the answers to a national security conspiracy. Malcolm must keep his profile low and Big Momma’s profile high. How he does this without being caught is difficult. One thing is for sure: he’s having a difficult time personally not becoming attached to the three kids of this dysfunctional family. I haven’t seen the first film so it took a little time to get used to this one. It is full of silliness in the hopes the audience will have fun with it. Our villains and FBI agents are the most stupid people on earth you’d wonder where they were educated, if at all. The only one who looks smart is Big Mamma/Malcolm, but that is probably the intention. The movie has a few laughs but they are few and far between. Still, I was entertained by the nuttiness of Big Mamma and most adults would feel this way too while their kids find more entertaining value from this film. VIDEO QUALITY / On this single-layer double sided disc, both the 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and the full screen 1.33:1 editions of the film are provided. When reviewing the image of the widescreen version only, which seems properly framed at 1.85:1, the image is pleasant but not quite up to par of the better released DVDs. What is distracting is a digital haze over the image and gives it a slightly more of a hard-edge grittier look when comparing it to other excellent DVD transfers. All aspects of image do seem to be properly presented; flesh tones and colours look great in both interior and exterior lighting, black level seems always perfect and there is plenty of contrast in outdoor scenes. These are all big pluses for this disc and it would be considered to be great if it wasn’t for the grittiness and compression artefacts I kept noticing throughout the film. AUDIO QUALITY / I’m hearing some consistency with this recent batch of Fox titles I’ve been reviewing, including a few upcoming titles that will be posted soon. The audio is very front heavy with little to no activity in the surround channels and the subwoofer. This is a basic film soundtrack that lacks creativity. Dialogue is placed in the center channel and music is recorded in the left and right channels. There is little in terms of creative effort to make this soundtrack exciting. The sounds in this soundtrack are fairly simple just to get the idea across to the audience. I couldn’t help but think that all of the sounds I’m hearing I’ve heard before as if all of them were pulled from a sound effect archive for minimal work on this film. Sounds are often a little loud and exaggerated for theatrical purposes. The soundtrack is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1, but I’d rather call it a 3.0 delivery. At least I can say the characteristics of the audio are pleasant. Despite the limited amount of excitement and dynamic range, it is smooth throughout the range and equalized nicely. Just don’t expect anything in terms of hyper-detail with music or sound effects. TACTILE FUN!! ZERO / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: OFF There is very little bass in this film except for a few moments to give a slightly more pronounced effect with some music in this film. All of the bass is located in main left and right channels so using a transducer wouldn’t work well in this film. SPECIAL FEATURES / The DVD includes an audio commentary by director John Whitesell, producer David T. Friendly and actor Zachary Levi. The three of them are energetic on this track and it’s a fun listen. With three men with different roles in the making of the film give three very different viewpoints for each scene. On the fullscreen side, 12 deleted scenes that are not widescreen enhanced can be found. They total about 17 minutes in length and include optional commentary by both the director and Zachary Levi. You’ll see some more character-developed moments, some scenes cut for time and the original opening for the film. These scenes are from a composite video source and are "choppy" in motion like we're watching the video with a few frames missing all of the time. While it's a possibility it could be the way my DVD player is handling this video content, it could also be the low-quality source. On the widescreen side, a featurette titled Big Momma’s Secret. At just under eight minutes, this is loaded with information about the Big Mamma suit as well as how the film was digitally altered to finalize shots. I have to admit it was a very good use of eight minutes for a featurette; much better than other garbage I see for “features.” It’s also enhanced for widescreen TVs. The theatrical trailers for Big Mamma’s House 2, Phat Girlz, and Little Manhattan are also included. IN THE END... I can’t say that I loved this movie. It’s directed more towards a young teen audience than to all age groups. I also find that a PG-13 rating is too much for this movie and it is appropriate for PG audiences. The DVD is fairly good in picture quality but it’s not one of the best. The audio, as mentioned, is a disappointment in terms of creativity. Michael Osadciw May 8, 2006.