The Wayans family is better at making money than making movies. They know that if they keep the budget low and the humor even lower, they can keep making money. In fact, according to Entertainment Weekly, they are the most successful family in Hollywood. “Over the past 20 years, Wayans sibs like Kim (Juwanna Mann) and Damon (ABC’s My Wife and Kids) have written, directed, produced, and/or starred in more than 45 movies and television shows…And the family boasts a combined domestic box office of over a billion bucks — a hefty $331 million of which comes from the powerhouse trio at the forefront of the Wayans dynasty, Keenen, 48, and brothers Shawn, 35, and Marlon, 33.” Like Adam Sandler, they figure that if they can make that kind of money without paying much attention to the script, why bother?
Most of the budget for their latest movie went to special effects. Actually, one effect. Marlon Wayans plays Calvin, a tough, mean career criminal who is the size of a one-year-old. His head is imposed on the body of a little person or a child throughout the film.
Calvin and his partner (SNL’s Tracy Morgan) have stolen a great big diamond. But they had to stash it in the purse of the upwardly mobile Vanessa (Kerry Washington), who is resisting the urging of her husband Darryl (Shawn Wayans), who wants to have a baby. So Calvin puts on a diaper and a bonnet and masquerades as a baby to get taken into their home and steal back the diamond.
Vanessa and Darryl don’t know much about babies, so they can’t tell the difference between an adult male (even one with a full set of adult teeth with bridgework and a tattoo) and a toddler. Somehow, even their friends who have children and a pediatrician they consult don’t figure it out, either. This creates an opportunity for Calvin as baby to get access to female bodies that Calvin as man enjoys very much. And it creates an opportunity for Calvin as baby to inflict pain on male bodies that Calvin as man seems to enjoy even more.
Then there are the unintentional indignities imposed upon Calvin, most vividly the rectal thermometer.
This is among the intentional indignities inflicted on the audience, along with a plot that even by the low standards of dumb comedies makes no sense. Calvin is treated like a one-year-old in some scenes, like a five or six-year-old in others. The adult characters are inconsistent, behaving fairly normally in some scenes and then going over the top when the movie is lagging, which is just about all the time. Marlon makes a lot of faces (that’s all he has to act with). Shawn shows some actual appeal that could make him a very effective performer in a movie that gave him more to do than act as straight man to a demon child. The exquisitely talented Kerry Washington (Ray) is wasted in a part that has a supposedly successful professional woman squealing over her aging father and not noticing that she is having sex with someone considerably shorter than her husband. And, again, they steal and debase jokes from better movies, this time a final twist from one of the Hope and Crosby “Road” movies. Little man, little effort, little result.
Parents should know that this movie features a great deal of very crude humor including jokes about genital size, pregancy, pretending to be a woman’s husband to have sex with her, breast-feeding, child molesting, and prison rape. There is also a great deal of crude bathroom and body part humor. Characters use crude language and some four-letter words and one of them gives the finger. There is a great deal of comic (and less comic) violence including many crotch hits, head bonks, and gun threats. A character engages in some macho discussion of the importance of men being tough and beating each other up in a football game and the point of view of the movie is that the way to respond is to beat up the people who say that.
Families who see this movie should talk about how people decide when they are ready to have children and why Calvin’s feelings and priorities changed when he was treated kindly.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy other Wayans brothers movies (very crude humor).