After his role in “Dreamgirls , one expected better of Eddie Murphy
There was always something about Eddie Murphy that made you laugh. Even in some of his sillier and more outrageous roles like “The Nutty Professor , a sweet story evolved – but in “Norbit , there is neither laughter nor compassion.
It is difficult to watch the movie without judging its co-writer and tri-star, Murphy, especially when it was written during the actor’s messy divorce.
The timid nerd Norbit (Murphy), raised by Asian restaurant owner/philosopher Mr Wong (again Murphy) loses his childhood sweetheart Kate (Thandie Newton) when she’s adopted from the orphanage and ends up marrying a scary, spoilt and overweight Rasputia (also Murphy).
Spending his days picking up his wife s giant takeout dinners and slaving away at the construction company owned by her three shifty brothers, Norbit manages to help out with the orphans at Mr Wong’s and one day Kate returns to town with a plan to purchase the orphanage. Norbit wishes they could pick up where they left off but besides his monster of a wife, there is another obstacle. Kate is engaged to the sleazy Deion Hughes (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who is conspiring with Rasputia s three brothers to turn the orphanage into a strip club called The Nipplopolis.
Aside from many references to flatulence, fat and sex, the script is an endless parade of tired jokes and predictable scenes.
Rasputia, who is described as an Escalade in a wedding dress, rides on a water slide in a bikini and takes a bubble bath with entirely predictable results. She gets stuck behind the steering wheel every time she gets into her car and accuses her husband of having messed up with the chair.
The whole scenario is less than ordinary and sometimes it is downright crass, but when you don’t concentrate on Murphy (which is hard to do given that he plays three different characters) you can appreciate the rest of the cast.
The only laughs you get are from another Eddie. The ever sharp-witted Eddie Griffin steals the spotlight with his portrayal of the pimp Pope Sweet Jesus. Meanwhile, Cuba Gooding Jr. excels in playing the slimy fiancé, but Newton, a generally intelligent actress who gave an outstanding performance in “Crash , plays one of the dumbest – and thinnest – characters in recent memory.
The undeniably good thing about this movie is the makeup. Academy Award winning makeup artist Rick Baker had a hand in the designs Murphy dons in this comedy, and as usual, his efforts elicit gasps of admiration.
Murphy lugs under 100 pounds of perfectly crafted cellulite as Rasputia, and is almost unrecognizable as the white Mr Wong.
Yet makeup alone cannot be the basis of a successful movie. With a bad script, lousy direction and lack of comedy, the film is a downright flop – even for children who forced me to go in the first place.
Unfortunately, the movie is bound to make money. The movie theatre was full and it’s been running for three weeks. Check it out if you are suffering from low blood pressure; it will definitely help.