Taking in the bulbous, dimpled totality of Martin Lawrence's plus-size get-up in "Big Momma's House 2" -- whether in a high-riding one-piece bathing suit or the customary flower print dress -- it's not hard to marvel at the advances in drag technology since Fatty Arbuckle, "Some Like It Hot" and Monty Python. This isn't your father's cross-dressing. At the same time, the science of comedy attains a new level of appreciation, since hardly anything about this sluggish sequel to the 2000 box office hit comes close to being funny.
The premise puts Big Momma -- a.k.a. FBI agent Malcolm Turner, now an expectant father married to Nia Long's character from the first film -- as an undercover nanny in the Orange County home of a suspicious computer-worm creator (Mark Moses), his high-strung wife (Emily Procter) and their neglected kids.
Naturally, saving the day includes fixing a dysfunctional household: think "The Pacifier" with gags about oversize thongs, or "Bringing Down the House" starring a latex-and-foam-enhanced (and considerably less attractive) Queen Latifah.
Ultimately, though, the family film vibe doesn't suit a manic-tempered comic such as Lawrence, whose fat suit and septuagenarian makeup can't hide his obvious boredom in delivering more of the same wheezing insults and down-home advice.