'Norbit' painfully unfunny and borderline offensive
Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Updated: Sunday, May 17, 2009 19:05
'Norbit' is painfully unfunny and borderline offensive
The tagline of "Norbit" is "Have you ever made a really big mistake?" If given the opportunity to answer this question, I am almost certain Eddie Murphy would look at his latest film and slowly nod a shameful "yes."
Eddie Murphy is an immensely talented and funny individual. He has accomplished volumes in the worlds of stand-up comedy and film, and his performance as Jimmy Early in "Dreamgirls" is likely to earn him his first Academy Award (and without playing a mentally challenged slave, as predicted in "Bowfinger"). Why, then, would Eddie Murphy make "Norbit," a movie so painfully unfunny that it makes "Epic Movie" seem clever?
Murphy has visited this territory in the past. His first foray into playing multiple characters was in the brilliantly funny "Coming to America." He then donned a fat suit to play the loveable scientist Sherman Klump (and practically his entire family) in "The Nutty Professor" and the lesser, but mostly funny sequel "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps."
These films were successful because beneath all of the makeup and character work done by Murphy, they had a genuine sweetness to them that made them loveable. "Norbit" has Murphy playing three very distinct characters, all made up to near perfection, but it is quite possibly the most heartless and shallow movie Eddie Murphy has ever made.
Other than the makeup and the special effects, "Norbit" gets nothing right. The "humor" in "Norbit" is mostly of the slapstick variety, with characters literally flying across the screen after being slapped or pummeled in some way, shape or form. It is also remarkably mean-spirited, managing to make jokes at the expense of all of its characters without once earning even a smile.
The thing I hated most about "Norbit" (and believe me, there was much to loathe) was Eddie Murphy's latest larger-than-life creation, Rasputia. With Rasputia, Murphy manages to not only offend the obese, but black women as well. As a character, Rasputia is cruel and menacing when she should be someone the audience loves to hate. Instead, we truly hate her, and there is no joy in watching her evil doings. Every time she spouted her ultra-lame catch phrase, "How YOU doin?" I had progressively less faith in the human race.
When Murphy is Norbit himself, he completely misinterprets the character. Norbit should be a loveable loser, but Murphy just makes him a loser. Honestly, I could not have given a damn if Norbit lived happily ever after or if he suffocated under the weight of his wife during one of their many drastically unfunny sexual escapades. Nothing about Norbit is remotely endearing or interesting, therefore it is impossible to care about him or the movie.
The movie itself is also pretty awful. It is ridden with hundreds of clichés, ranging from the oblivious beauty engaged to obvious jackass scenario to the two loud black guys who exist only to discuss the glory days of pimping and offer absolutely nothing to further the plot. And please, do not get me started on the mob at the end of the film that appears magically to save Norbit from destruction. Who are these people? How do they know Norbit? Why do they care?
There is nothing to care about in "Norbit." It is sloppy, gross, offensive, vile, repugnant trash. Don't even consider seeing this one.