Sunday, March 18, 2007

Norbit: Eddie's Worst?

I saw Norbit recently and I couldn't believe what I saw. I'm not talking about the movie's plot...I'm talking about its lack of quality. Eddie Murphy has made a lot of bad movies in his career but Norbit is one of the few I've watched that made me feel genuinely disappointed.

When I first heard about Norbit's premise, it seemed like a recipe for Nutty Professor-esque gold. Unfortunately, the funny idea of Eddie Murphy playing both a henpecked husband and his overbearing wife gets squandered.

There is a lot wrong with Norbit. For one thing, all of the characters Eddie plays are unlikable. Norbit is a bad, annoying version of the “lovable” nerd we saw in The Nutty Professor and Bowfinger. Mr. Wong is Eddie's failed attempt at playing an Asian. Many have pointed out that the character is a dated stereotype. Even though that's true, I wouldn't have had a problem with Mr. Wong if he actually said something funny. Alas, it didn't happen. Finally, we have Norbit's vicious wife Rasputia. She is, quite simply, one of the most grating, annoying characters Eddie has ever played. She's a female Buddy Love without an ounce of goodness anywhere to be found. This is why she fails as a villainess. The best villains have some sort of redeeming quality hidden deep down (or even a desirable quality like wittiness) but Rasputia has nothing.

Usually, Eddie is the bright spot of his movies...even his bad ones. However, the funniest people in Norbit are actually Eddie Griffin and Katt Williams. I guess this makes sense since Eddie Griffin has appeared in enough bad movies to know how to steal the spotlight and Katt Williams could read the phone book and make me laugh. What's sad, though, is how the other actors in this film are utterly wasted. Thandie Newton, Terry Crews (of Everybody Hates Chris) and even Cuba Gooding Jr. all deserve better.

There was a point when Eddie Murphy + makeup = instant comedy. Vampire In Brooklyn tested the limits of that (sort of...I like that movie) but Norbit really proves that Eddie in makeup does not a good movie make.

After Eddie lost the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor to Alan Arkin, I read that some people felt that Norbit's release hurt his chances. After seeing it, I don't believe that. Why? Because Norbit will make you appreciate Eddie's work in Dreamgirls (and in Coming To America, The Nutty Professor and so on) so much more. I hope that Eddie can bounce back artistically in his next non-Shrek movie. We all know he can do better.


  1. I"m not surprised you didn't care for this one, Sterfish ... I long for the days when Eddie Murphy was truly funny, but I'm not sure even he can remember that far back ... and poor Thandie Newton!

  2. Anonymous7:46 PM

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