Director John Whitesell literalizes tropes of gender and racial identity confusion in his Big Momma's House 2, which meditates upon the nuanced difficulties of existing in society as an obese African-American woman, while in reality being a skinny black man. Martin Lawrence plays Malcolm "Big Momma" Turner, a humble FBI agent whose passion for national security motivates his subtextual fascination with cross-dressing as a 250+ pound, festively patterned muumuu-sporting woman.

To appeal to a wider audience, Whitesell has ingeniously pitched Big Momma's House 2 as mind-numbing comedy, pregnant with redundantly inappropriate and awkward quips and gags. However, Big Momma House 2's purportedly feather-light farce grapples with many a complex and politically-charged question regarding the role racial minority cross-dressing plays in contemporary American culture.

Martin Lawrence's dual identity as an ambitious young sharp-shooting National Security agent, driven by his unremitting patriotism to go incognito as an elderly corpulent female, provokes comparisons between his two radically different personae. In doing so, it raises an interesting question: how does our society corner successful young black men into performing absurd self-caricatures in order to be embraced by mainstream culture?

By challenging us to laugh at our own violent and repressive racial and sexual stereotyping, Big Momma's House 2 instigates important cultural conversations regarding America's deep-rooted societal prejudices: have these bigotries really evolved since the Civil Rights Movement, or have they just been transformed and made less recognizable?

The film suggests that if we can allow ourselves to reflect openly and honestly upon these questions and anxieties, instead of displacing them onto a grossly caricatured 250+ pound African-American woman, perhaps we can also preclude the culmination of a Big Momma's House trilogy.