After a bank robber (Terrence Howard) escapes from prison, his ex-girlfriend Sherry Pierce (Nia Long) flees with her young son Trent to the home of her grandmother, Hattie Mae Pierce aka Big Momma. Unbeknownst to Sherry, the real Big Momma is out of town and undercover FBI agent Malcolm Turner (Lawrence) has stepped into a Fat Suit to impersonate her. Malcolm and his partner John Maxwell (Paul Giamatti) suspect Sherry has the money from the original robbery, but Malcolm starts to doubt her guilt. Later, Sherry "meets" Malcolm out of disguise, where he introduces himself as a local electrician, giving him a chance to bond with Sherry and her son as a possible romantic partner / father figure. Malcolm is torn between his duty as an agent and his growing feelings for Sherry.
The second film, Big Momma's House 2, has Malcolm galvanized by the murder of an FBI colleague, who was undercover with Tom Fuller (Mark Moses), a former Military Intelligence Specialist now in the private sector and suspected of trying to sell an NSA backdoor on the black market. Since he has officially retired from field work for the sake of his family and his boss won't let him in on the case, he covertly reassumes the Big Momma disguise to become the new nanny at the Fuller residence in Orange County. Turner-as-Big Momma bonds with the Fullers and their three children, while trying to get to the bottom of Tom's involvement.
The second and third films were much Lighter and Softer than the first. Both were critically savaged despite an impressive box office turnout.
The third film replaces the actor who played Trent in the first two films with Brandon T. Jackson (of Tropic Thunder fame) and has Trent taking on a Fat Suit disguise.
The films contain examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Could explain Sherry's attraction to the psychopathic criminal Lester.
- Ascended Extra: After being absent for most of the second film only making brief appearances at the beginning and end of the film, Trent is upgraded to the protagonist in the third film, serving as co-lead to Malcolm.
- Butt-Monkey: John, who seems to always get hurt, either by Malcolm, Big Momma, dogs or foreign bad guys.
- Continuity Snarl: The scene where Big Momma poses nude for a life drawing class in Like Father, Like Son makes no sense, as Big Momma's House established that the Big Momma outfit is a series of separate prostheses, which would be pretty damn obvious once the housedress was removed. This also raises the question of why the FBI would give it a synthetic vagina if Big Momma is supposed to wear conservatives clothing all the time.
- Disguised in Drag: Malcolm's impersonation of Big Momma.
- Elder Abuse: Nolan's self defense class seems more of an opportunity for him to beat up the old women who volunteer to pretend to be a victim.
- Fake Identity Baggage: Malcolm encounters this problem in the first and second movies when he disguises himself as Big Momma.
- In the first and third movies, Malcolm has to fend off the creepy advances of Big Momma's lecherous admirers.
- In the second movie, he encounters a woman who hates Big Momma for stealing her boyfriend and tries to goad Malcolm into a fight using insults. Malcolm's partner Kevin actually has to talk him down from rising to the bait.Kevin: Malcolm, listen to me. You are not Big Momma, okay? You are a highly trained field operative, and you do not throw down with a 65-year-old woman!
- Fat Suit: Part of Malcolm's disguise as Big Momma. Complete with bean bag boobs. The same applies to Trent in the third film.
- Male Gaze: Malcolm/Big Momma to Sherry. It is Nia Long.
- Never Mess with Granny: As a surprised civilian witnessing (a travesty of) a fight between police and armed criminals in the climax of the first movie, Big Momma declares, "Not in Big Momma's house!" and gets in there herself.
- Oh, Crap!: When Malcolm is almost exposed after Nolan snatches off his wig during his self defense class. Also, when Sherry catches Lester in Trent's room, reading him ghost stories.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Malcolm's exaggerated grandma voice goes from coherent to almost nonexistent in the more serious scenes, where he pretty much sounds exactly like himself.
- Out-of-Character Alert: A minor one in the first film, where Sherry noticed Big Momma (Malcolm) acts more warmly towards her, since apparently (the real) Big Momma is always rather disapproving towards her, resulting in their estranged relationship. Sherry believes she might have gone senile.
- Out of Focus: The third movie is more focused on Trent and his development, rather than Malcolm, whose role is reduced to being the Papa Wolf co-lead.
- The Reveal: Done in every movie after Malcolm beats the villain.
- Screaming Birth: Big Momma is a midwife and has to deliver Ritha's baby. Her delivery is less than discreet. Nolan even ends up with a shoe in his mouth.
- Scary Black Man: Sherry's psychotic ex-boyfriend Lester Vesco from the first film. He robs a bank, murdering two people in the process, then escapes prison by murdering the prison doctor and driving out in their car. All before the events of the first film.
- Stepford Smiler: Sherry. Though her life is falling apart, she still manages to stay happy for her son's sake.
- Suddenly Shouting: John does this to Malcolm (as Big Momma), over the latter's face falling apart:John: Malcolm, I don't know how to tell you this... BUT YOUR FACE IS FALLING OFF!!!
- Toilet Humor: When Big Momma comes home she goes to the bathroom in order to take a crap by sitting on a toilet and Malcolm (who happens to be hiding in the bathtub)hears her very loud farting sounds much to his disgust.
- Token White: John.
- Too Dumb to Live: Sherry, who despite saying on a few occasions that her grandmother looks different and also saying Malcolm's eyes look "familiar," doesn't realize that her grandmother is not only not her grandmother but the man she's dating. Also, everyone else who notices that she looks different but thinks nothing of it.