Bad Boys 3 star Martin Lawrence shows heroes have dad bods too

Fans were excited when the trailer to the third and final instalment of the Bad Boys films dropped recently.

Yet some fans weren't as excited about the appearance of its co-star, Martin Lawrence. While Will Smith seemed as fit as he was in the first movie way back in 1995, Lawrence seemed … well … husky.

The internet was quick to judge. "Martin Lawrence looks too fat in this Bad Boys trailer and I can't enjoy it," went one tweet.

"Martin Lawrence is fat as hell...Big Mama House meets Bad Boys," went another.

God forbid that a 53-year-old actor should show his age or appear to have a dad bod.

As a fellow "husky" man, I find the rush to judgement on Lawrence problematic. Why can't we have a dude with an average body as an action hero? 

Indeed, for those of us of a "husky" disposition, the changing shape of our action heroes and sportsfolk has been disturbing.

When I grew up, Steven Seagal was considered a tough guy, taking down the baddies with thrilling martial arts moves. They loved him all around the world, from the US to Russia. Such was his fame that Vladmir Putin suggested Seagal act as Russia's "honorary consul" in two US states. High praise indeed.

Yet in today's cinematic dojo, the hefty Seagal simply doesn't cut it. He's not alone, either. From TV shows such as True Blood and Game Of Thrones to movies such as Baywatch or The Avengers series, everyone has to be super-buff. 

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Today, our stars must be shredded. They must have physiques that resemble the almost-impossible-to-achieve bodies of comic-book heroes. The "bowling pin" body of Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation is out; his insanely buff torso circa Guardians Of The Galaxy is in. 

When a crazily toned Daniel Craig stepped out of the surf in Casino Royale, a million men around the world sucked in their stomachs. Bond-style quips were suddenly out … crunches and burpees were in.

Hugh Jackman had a good body when he starred as Wolverine in the first X-Men movie in 2000. By 2013's The Wolverine, he was totally jacked (just look at the abs on that movie poster).

The end result? Men now face the type of body-image pressures that have plagued women on and off-screen forever.

Yet we know that in real life you don't need a six-pack to be a tough guy.

Just this year, in a boxing upset rivalling the defeat of Mike Tyson by Buster Douglas, Mexican-American fighter Andy Ruiz jr defeated British champion Anthony Joshua in a seven-round knockout.

Yet what was also remarkable apart from Ruiz jr's fists of steel was that they were delivered from a frame that appeared decidedly unsportsmanlike.

His "cuddly" body was a stark contrast to the toned physique of favourite Joshua. Proving that he has a sense of humour, he even admitted to eating Snickers bars before his bout.

Some have argued that that extra weight could work for a boxer in the ring (think George Foreman and Eric "Butterbean" Esch).

"If you're an extra 20 kilograms heavier – even if that weight is coming from fat – the opponent is going to feel your punch a lot more," said sports nutritionist Dr Mayur Ranchordas.

However, Ruiz jr's victory is not only a victory for everyone who has ever been teased in the schoolyard for carrying a few extra kilos – it's also a repudiation that you have to have the type of abs you could grate cheese off of to be a tough guy.

It gives us out-of-shape guys hope that we can be still be the stuff of legends. Ruiz jr now joins the ranks of "everyman" heroes such as Homer Simpson, Tony Soprano and Peter Griffin from Family Guy, who show us that even those with imperfect bodies can be the heroes of their own stories.

If we can love Homer, Tony and Peter … surely there is room in our hearts for Martin Lawrence, too.