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Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy Stars in the Romance/Comedy "Norbit".
OPENING WEEKEND: $28,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $73,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

October 9th, 2006: Being an abandoned orphan, Norbit (Eddie Murphy) has always felt an overwhelming shortage of love. He never got it from Mr. Wong (Eddie Murphy), the Chinese restaurant owner that raised him and simultaneously found time to torture him as he grew up. As a kid, Norbit finally got the attention he so desperately desired from an overweight girl that, in what seemed like a genuinely kind act at the time, adopted him as her boyfriend. Twenty years later, he is still the same meek, repressed guy and she (Eddie Murphy) is a monstrous bully of a woman. The two are now married, but Norbit is nothing more than a punching bag in the relationship. Secretly, he has fallen in love with a dream girl (Thandie Newton) that is not only beautiful, but also represents an escape from his nightmare. As he schemes to find a way to be with her, he realizes that his wife is not the type of woman that will let him get away that easily.

What to Expect: The most important thing to remember is that this movie stars “Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy.” The legendary comedian returns to doing what he knows best – playing multiple roles in one feature. Sure he’s done this before in Coming to America, Vampire in Brooklyn, Bowfinger, and the Nutty Professor movies, but it certainly beats his last two live-action flicks, Daddy Day Care and The Haunted Mansion. In Norbit he plays the pathetic main character, his neglectful Asian stepfather, and, of course, the 400lb. abusive wife, who just happens to be the most horrid woman in the world. Rick Baker, a six-time Academy Award winner, had Murphy undergo hours of makeup to prepare for all his parts. One of the more arduous tasks involved Murphy having to don the 400lb. suit. Luckily for him, he did have a body double for that part so he did not have to physically be there for all the shots.

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Reportedly, actress Thandie Newton (Crash, M:I-2) had her hands full with all of the one Murphy. It seems that the comedian would frequently show up late for the shoots and when asked by Newton to stop doing so out of respect for others, he lashed out and stormed off the set. Although she nearly quit the production, Hollywood magic will make it seem like a dream match-up when she and Murphy are up on the screen together. Just an interesting thought to keep in mind while watching.

Murphy certainly has great help from other actors on this project. Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. will play Newton’s character’s boyfriend in the picture and Norbit’s chief rival. Eddie Griffin (Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Undercover Brother, The New Guy), another stand-up comedian, will play a retired pimp. As if though Norbit didn’t have enough people to push him around, he will also be tortured routinely by his brother-in-law, played by Terry Crews (Click, Idiocracy, Inland Empire). Crews certainly looks like the type of guy that could make someone else’s life a living hell. In fact, Norbit’s wife’s entire family does not cut him any slack in the picture and are all part of the vicious cycle the main character has to endure.

Director Brian Robbins (Varsity Blues, The Perfect Score, The Shaggy Dog) replaced Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), who dropped out due to a scheduling conflict. He’s not the most promising replacement, but neither are the writers. Although the original story was developed by Eddie Murphy and, thanks to his outrageous sketches on “Chappelle’s Show,” his recently more popular older brother Charlie Murphy, Jay Scherick and David Ronn, the writers behind such gems as Serving Sara, National Security, and the Eddie Murphy bomb, I Spy, re-wrote much of the script. It has been rumored that the duo has recently been hired by DreamWorks to write the screenplay for the upcoming big-screen version of Baywatch, so I wouldn’t expect an Oscar caliber script for Norbit.

It seems that African-American comedians in fat women costumes are all the rage nowadays in Hollywood. After the critically panned Big Momma’s House 2 and Madea’s Family Reunion both opened at the top of the box-office charts and made $27 million and $30 million respectively on opening weekend, it seems like a good idea to start a third franchise. Of course, this is not a first for Eddie Murphy, who played fat men and women in the Nutty Professor series. The problem is that it doesn’t seem like he’s upping the ante, but rather like he is dropping down to a more mediocre level of comedy. This film is just a tiny step away from the Big Momma’s House sequel. At the moment, it is saved only by a trailer that features a few genuinely funny moments, even if they do stoop down to the lowest common denominator. However, the trailer’s effectiveness can be accredited to skillful editing that features lots of quick cuts, hip music, and successfully sets the audience up for the punch lines.

In Conclusion: If Big Momma’s House 2 can amass $70 million at the box-office and Madea’s Family Reunion can make an equally respectable $63 million, there’s no reason why Norbit wouldn’t be able to perform just as well. This comedy is tired and clichéd by now, but it clearly appeals to mainstream audiences. The unspectacular unoriginality of the movie may deter some audiences who already paid for tickets to the other, similar films in the past, but the richer cast of Norbit will attract many more in their place.

Similar Titles: Big Momma's House, The Nutty Professor, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
February 9th, 2007 (wide)
June 5th, 2007 (DVD)


Brian Robbins

Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Eddie Griffin, Terry Crews, Clifton Powell, Cuba Gooding Jr., Marlon Wayans, Katt Williams

Total: 90 vote(s).

Comedy, Romance

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for crude & sexual humor, some nudity, and language.

102 min





Norbit at AskMen.com

Norbit at RottenTomatoes.com

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