Which is the more serious affliction plaguing society right now: our nation's growing obesity epidemic or Hollywood's growing fat suit epidemic? Before you answer, consider the fact that the third installment of 'Big Momma's House' has raked in more than $28 million at the box office. (See? We're all affected.)
Yes, when all else fails, movie-makers get lazy and lean on the big-bodied for big laughs -- or at least a few guilty chuckles. But Martin Lawrence isn't the only Hollywood heavyweight bulking up in the name of box-office returns. Join us as we slowly waddle down memory lane to rank the good, the bad and the bloated with our list of the 25 best movie fat suit performances.
25. Meg Ryan in 'Homeland Security' (aka 'My Mom's New Boyfriend)' (2008)
To set up the flimsy premise of this forgettable comedy about an FBI agent (Colin Hanks) who is forced to spy on his mom, Meg Ryan transforms into a slob in grimy sweatpants. If you don't remember this role, or this movie, don't feel bad: The appearance loses its humor faster than this film went to DVD (which is to say, immediately).
24. Robert John Burke in 'Thinner' (1996)
Most fat suits are donned for comedic purposes, and this one fits the bill -- unintentionally. 'Thinner' is supposed to be a serious horror movie, but Burke's ill-fitting fat suit sets the wrong tone for this undistinguished Stephen King adaptation.
23. Ellen Burstyn in 'Requiem for a Dream' (2000)
Burstyn puts on a slightly tubby suit to play Sara Goldfarb, a woman who enjoys high-sugar snack foods and watching her favorite game show. It's hardly noticeable when Burstyn loses the suit halfway through the movie, but then her character really lops off the pounds, and drops off the deep end, and lands in a loony bin. Fat and happy, or skinny and crazy? We say pass the Ho Hos.
22. Nicolas Cage in 'Adaptation' (2002)
Nicolas Cage dons an understated fat suit to play the role of the Kaufman brothers, Charlie and Donald. Cage chose to forgo putting on 25 or so pounds and went with a believable fat suit instead. Don't worry Cage fans, the extra heft doesn't cover up his trademark overacting, tics and freakouts. There's not a large enough fat suit in the world capable of pulling that off.
21. Julia Roberts in 'America's Sweethearts' (2001)
Roberts plays Kiki, the personal assistant to her actress sister, Gwen (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Kiki starts the film as the ugly duckling before a flashback reveals she was also the fat duckling. In addition to the extra chin, the filmmakers gave Roberts awkward bangs and a pair of glasses to hammer home just how undateable she was. Order is restored before the credits roll, as Roberts finishes things off as the movie's central love interest with a waistline barely wider than her trademark smile.
20. Sharon Stone in 'Alpha Dog' (2006)
As we've already learned, if it's not supposed to be funny, a fat suit probably isn't the way to go. Stone plays a bad parent who eats away her grief in 'Alpha Dog,' and the results are distracting. Stone does everything she can to work through her dramatic scenes in the fat suit, but we had a hard time not focusing on how much she looks like Bruce Vilanch instead.
19. Alyson Hannigan in 'Date Movie' (2006)
We know Alyson Hannigan is busy with 'How I Married Your Mother' and all, but her "heavy" involvement in this abysmally low-rated spoof may have something to do with why she hasn't appeared in a movie since.
18. Rachel McAdams in 'Mean Girls' (2004)
When Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) needs to take down Regina George (Rachel McAdams), she hits Regina where it hurts: right in the muffin tops. Heron tricks George into eating carb-loading energy bars and George quickly balloons from wafer-thin cheerleader to a high school girl of
average weight. The horror!
17. Steve Carell in 'Get Smart' (2008)
The fat suit Carell jumps into for a pointless flashback scene in 'Get Smart' is the ultimate waste of fake blubber. In order to get a taste of what Agent 86 went through during his early years in training, we travel back in time to watch a bulked-up Carell, stuffed into a quintuple XL sweatsuit, struggling through an obstacle course.
16. Martin Short in 'Jiminy Glick in Lalawood' (2004)
Finally, a group of overweight people deserving of mockery: film critics. Too bad Martin Short's clueless Glick appeared in a movie few people other than film critics actually saw.
15. Adam Sandler in 'Click' (2006)
Michael Newman (Sandler) uses his magical remote control to get a look at his future. Unfortunately, in the future, he can't get a look at his toes (or his manhood) because of all the poundage he has packed on. From playing with his newfound breasts to losing his remote control in his backfat, Sandler wrings every laugh he can out of this futuristic fat man.
14. Kenan Thompson in 'Fat Albert' (2004)
Hey, hey, hey ... it's a forced remake! When Fat Albert and his buddies leave the cartoon world, they pop out into the real world where Kenan Thompson's Albert can only be rendered properly under a puffy body suit, an oversized red sweater and rehashed one-liners.
13. John Travolta in 'Hairspray' (2007)
Travolta covers up his giant chin cleft with a double chin to play Edna Turnblad in this campy musical based in 1960s Baltimore. It's Travolta's most transformative performance since he donned all that make-up to play Nic Cage in Face/Off.
12. Tyler Perry in his career
Perry's trash-talking, weed-smoking, gun-toting grandma Madea has raked in millions of dollars over the last six years. We really wish we could type more sentences like that.
11. Kathleen Turner in 'The Man with Two Brains' (1983)
Steve Martin's Dr. Hfuhruhurr (pronounced just how it's spelled) performs his famous brain implant procedure on Dolores Benedict (Kathleen Turner) to put the mind of the woman he loves into the head of the woman he lusts. Not surprisingly, brain surgery has a few unexpected side effects. When Benedict's new brain comes with a new, healthier appetite, Hfuhruhurr winds up with even more woman to love. Kudos to Turner for being the first sex symbol willing to put on the fake bulk for laughs.
10. Robin Williams in 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (1993)
Robin Williams' highest grossing film taught us an important tip on parenting: The only way to be a true father figure is to dress up as an old British lady, sneak into your divorced wife's house and spend quality time with your children while in drag. Lesson learned.
9. Tim Allen in 'The Santa Clause' (1994)
Ho! ho! ugh! Turns out Santa Claus does exist, and he looks like Tim Allen with potatoes stuffed in his cheeks. Lost in Allen's charming performance as the man who takes over delivering presents for Santa is the fact that Allen's character only has to take over for Kris Kringle because he killed him. How did this movie ever get greenlit?
8. Eddie Murphy in every movie since 'Another 48 Hrs.'
We live in a world where 'The Nutty Professor' won an Oscar but '12 Angry Men' didn't. Yes, every one of Murphy's fat suits is delightful, but come on, Eddie! You used to be one of the funniest people on the planet! Now all you do is stoop to comedy's lowest common denominator to milk your cash cow! How do you sleep at night?! (Probably on a giant pile of cash. In a female fat suit.)
7. Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Shallow Hal' (2001)
The usually toothpick-thin Paltrow gets sumo'ed up to show off her inner-beauty in this Farrelly brothers love story. Beneath all the double entendres and sight gags -- tiny girl makes big splash in pool! tiny girl breaks steel chair! tiny girl has big panties! -- the Farellys do their best to treat the overweight star of their movie with respect. (Paltrow, not co-star Jack Black.)
6. The twins in 'Nothing But Trouble' (1991)
Somehow a movie starring Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Demi Moore and Humpty Hump from Digital Underground turned out to be completely forgettable ... except for these incredibly creepy mutant adult baby creatures that haunt our dreams to this day. How disgusting were these oily, balding, diaper-wearing nitwits? They were by far the most disturbing memory from a movie that included John Candy in drag.
5. Goldie Hawn in 'Death Becomes Her' (1992)
If you have a thing for Goldie Hawn as well as a thing for crazy cat ladies, we've found your perfect woman. Hawn is nearly unrecognizable at the end of this movie as we see what ultimately becomes of her character, Helen. Death would've been a better option. Hawn is hidden under a monstrous fat suit and some scraggly hair as we see Helen living alone in squalor surrounded by cats, eviction being the only thing capable of getting her out of the house.
4. Mike Myers in 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me' (1999)
He'll break wind mid-sentence, he'll eat your babies, he'll even sing horribly dated Chili's jingles -- yes, friends, Fat Bastard is a truly disgusting human being. This dude is so consumed with consuming, he even rushes through sex with Heather Graham so he can get back to chowing down on chicken legs as part of a post-coital feast.
3. Ben Stiller in 'Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story' (2004)
The best scene in this slapstick comedy takes place after the movie is over. When the credits finish rolling, a woefully out of shape White Goodman (Stiller) appears perched on his sofa like a beached whale. Before you can look away, the blimp-sized Goodman launches into a juggling act with his man boobs to the beat of Kelis' 'Milkshake.' After his brief boogie, Goodman asks, "You happy? Fatty make a funny?" No Fatty, we're actually a little nauseous.
2. Ryan Reynolds in 'Just Friends' (2005)
Reynolds makes the transition from sexiest man alive to huskiest man alive to portray a down-on-his-luck high schooler with an unreciprocated crush. The look is complemented by a perm that comes straight out of the Pat from 'Saturday Night Live' look book. Reynolds seals the deal by closing out the credits with a flawless lip-sync rendition of All 4 One's 'I Swear.'
1. Tom Cruise in 'Tropic Thunder' (2008)
Cruise goes way over the top to caricature Hollywood studio executives with his portrayal of Les Grossman. This isn't just some fat suit that looks like a bunch of pillows stuffed under a shirt: Cruise has a believable paunch, a J-Lo-style booty bump and a thatch of chest hair that's more likely to attract fleas than ladies. The bombastic performance during the movie is just a warm-up to Cruise's chain-swinging dance routine to Ludacris' 'Get Back' during the credits. (What is it with fat suits and post-credit musical numbers?)