She's a hip-hoppin' be-boppin' mean ol' nanny who whips a mean stew and your butt for not doing your homework—and now she's back! Alas we don't speak of the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel but rather that of Big Momma a.k.a. FBI Agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence). Agent Warner has cut ties with the FBI at the behest of Sherry (Nia Long)—who as you no doubt recall is the granddaughter of the real Big Momma—since she's pregnant with Malcolm's baby. But wouldn't you know that he gets sucked back in after a former colleague is killed. Posing as Big Momma he's hired as a nanny to a suburban family the deadbeat dad of which is involved in the murder and a crime plot. She does it all—cooks cleans dances and even runs down bad guys but it's a race against time to stop the potential national security crisis. That is a race against the film's (mercifully) short running time. Although Lawrence's resume includes some of the dregs of comedy it's hard to argue that he is truly blessed when it comes to physical comedy and comedic timing. He continues both trends here this time without the help of the breakthrough actors of the past two years Paul Giamatti and Terrence Howard who yes both starred in the first Big Momma's House. That means Lawrence's urban mania is truly on its own and absurd and juvenile as the film may be even film snobs can't hold back a few laughs at his Big Momma outlandishness. Longreturns for no more than a select few scenes and to provide a minor conflict in the story. The notable newcomer is CSI's Emily Procter as the sterile mother who hires Big Momma. She does a serviceable job as a suburban Petite Momma. Might she be the next Giamatti or Howard to bolt to bigger and better things in time for the next sequel? No.
Big Momma's House 2 is right up director John Whitesell's alley. He's the guy behind such misses—though not necessarily financially—as Malibu's Most Wanted and See Spot Run and he's right at home here. Whitesell doesn't hold back in (literally and figuratively) pulling the robe off Big Momma but he clearly knows that nothing is to interrupt Lawrence's antics not even the thin story line. Aside from that he knows quite well how to execute thinly veiled rip-offs of the aforementioned Mrs. Doubtfire as well as countless other hidden-motive comedies (i.e. Kindergarten Cop Houseguest et al). Because while the main guise is the Big Momma fat suit Whitesell parades the film about as a feel-good/family flick.
Redford Says He's Not Selling Sundance Resort
Robert Redford is denying a report published in the New York Post last week that claimed the actor/filmmaker was planning to sell his Sundance resort in Utah's Wasatch Mountains and looking to cash out of the Sundance Channel cable network. "In response to a story generated by unnamed sources in a New York tabloid, please be advised that I have absolutely no intention of selling Sundance Village," Redford said a statement issued Wednesday. He added that his commitment to the ski area, arts and culture center and corporate retreat was "stronger than ever." But Redford, who owns the 6,000-acre resort 25 miles south of Salt Lake City at the base of 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos, didn't address reports he was looking to sell his stake in the Sundance channel cable network to his partners, Viacom Inc. and NBC Universal. The Post reported last Thursday that Redford is looking to cash out a $60 million-plus stake in the Sundance network, which is valued between $300 million to $400 million. A Sundance Channel spokeswoman told The Associated Press said she could not deny or confirm that report.
Spears Undergoes Knee Surgery in NYC
Pop princess Britney Spears underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in New York Wednesday after injuring herself during a late-night video shoot, Reuters reports. Spears had just completed a scene with rapper Snoop Dogg for a video of her single "Outrageous" and was doing choreography under the L Train line on Roosevelt Avenue in Manhattan when her left knee gave out. According to a statement from Spears' label Jive Records, the 22-year-old singer was immediately taken to a local hospital, where doctors performed an MRI scan and found floating cartilage in her knee. A previous knee injury while performing in Illinois forced Spears to cancel some concert dates earlier this year.
Mark Burnett Pitching Rock Star Reality Show
Mark Burnett, the creator behind the hit TV reality shows Survivor and The Apprentice, is pitching an idea for Rock Star, which would see contestants compete for the chance to sing in an established rock band and go on a world tour, the AP reports. "I feel that there's room on TV for more than one great big talent show, and I feel that rock music has been totally left out of that mix," Burnett told the syndicated TV show Access Hollywood. Burnett said Rock Star that unlike American Idol the winner would not be determined entirely by a public vote, but also by the band and an independent judge. He would not reveal the band.
Hollywood Celebs To Carry Olympic Torch in L.A.
Tom Cruise, Ellen DeGeneres and Sylvester Stallone will be among the bearers of the Olympic torch when it arrives in Los Angeles on June 16, the AP reports. The torch will also make stops in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta and New York before worldwide relay ends at the Athens Games in Greece in August. The celebs were chosen by Samsung, a sponsor of the Olympic Torch Relay, for their show business accomplishments and their contributions to worthy causes.
Welcome to "The O.C." Airport?
Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby has suggested the community's John Wayne Airport might benefit from being renamed "The O.C. Airport," after Fox's hit drama The O.C. about oversexed teenagers living in the affluent, conservative region south of Los Angeles. According to Reuters, Norby said he would like to capitalize on growing recognition for the county. But not everyone in the community is in agreement, including Karen Anderson, the editor of CityLine, the bimonthly publication of the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce. "TV shows come and go. We could call it the American Idol Airport," she said. "I think they should just leave well enough alone." What's more, The O.C. is actually filmed in various cities in neighboring Los Angeles County.
Liz Taylor Settles Sexual Harassment Suit
No, Elizabeth Taylor hasn't harassed anyone--but her butler may have. According to Reuters, Taylor reached an out of court settlement with a former landscaper who claimed he had been fired for refusing the sexual advances of the actress' butler. Willem Van Muyden filed the breach of contract and sex discrimination lawsuit a year ago, after he rebuked the advances of Taylor's French butler. Van Muyden asked for unspecified damages for being fired by Taylor without being paid $294,000 he said he was owed for 10 years of gardening work. Details of the settlement were not available.
Role Call: Chappelle's a Super Freak
Comedian Dave Chappelle is in early negotiations to play funkmaster Rick James in Memoirs of a Super Freak, based on the musician's upcoming memoirs. James, 56, best known for his 1981 hit "Super Freak (Part I)," has been working on a book for some time. Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is in negotiations to acquire the rights for a Paramount film.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.