Norbit

"OK"

Norbit Review


Inside Eddie Murphy hides an overweight soul that's longing to swell to its full potential. Which is hilarious because on the surface, the physically fit funnyman hasn't gained a pound (or aged a day) since we first saw him on screen nearly 25 years ago in 48 Hours.

When Murphy feels compelled to toss his proverbial weight around, he doesn't embellish his gluttony with radical feeding frenzies. Instead, he spends hours in a reclined chair and lets Academy Award-winning makeup artist Rick Baker do all the heavy lifting. Murphy and Baker's frequent collaborations over the years have yielded a parade of eclectic (and unusually obese) characters, from Nutty Professor Sherman Klump -- and his rotund family members -- to the acerbic barbershop patrons of Coming to America. When these two join forces, the industry generally acknowledges their accomplishments. Three of Baker's 10 Oscar nominations are for Murphy-led comedies, which includes a win for Nutty, hands-down their most celebrated effort.

Essentially, Norbit mirrors Nutty as it once again showcases Murphy and Baker's incomparable skills at turning Murphy into a fat guy (or gal). A sensitive, sympathetic wallflower (played by Murphy) must find the strength to stand up to a grotesque counterpart (also played by Murphy) so that he can fulfill a destiny and be with the picture-perfect princess of his dreams - here, Thandie Newton assumes the always-underwritten love interest role that belonged to Jada Pinkett Smith and Janet Jackson in Professor parts one and two.

Orphaned as a baby, the awkward Norbit (Murphy) is destined for failure. He falls in love with young Kate as they struggle to survive the hard-knocked life at a roadside adoption establishment run by racist Mr. Wong (Murphy). But when Kate is adopted by loving parents, Norbit is claimed by pushy Rasputia, and the two become a match made in Hades.

Right around the time Norbit burns through all the skinny-guy-with-a-huge-girl sight gags it can think of, the story (credited to brothers Eddie and Charlie Murphy) brings grown-up Kate (Newton) back into the fold. Now a successful businesswoman, she wants to purchase and run the orphanage. Norbit sees this as an escape clause to his pathetic marriage, until he learns Kate is accompanied by a slimy fiancée (Cuba Gooding Jr.).

The Nutty movies did more than fatten Murphy's bank account. They also taught the gifted comedian how to handle excess prosthetics. He's beyond comfortable with his artificial girth, which allows Norbit to attempt (and master) a number of amusing physical stunts. As Rasputia, Murphy bounds through an aerobics class, wrestles to squeeze behind a steering wheel, catapults kids out of an inflatable castle and -- in the film's funniest scene -- tackles a water slide at the town's amusement park. Rasputia is another impressive creation of Baker's, and Murphy once again injects her with sarcasm, bitterness, and comedic fury. It's a testament to Murphy's acting chops that the same performer can nail Norbit's meek demeanor and massive hope whenever he's around Kate. Newton, for her part, maintains an artificial sweetness that doesn't distract from Murphy's three-ring circus.

There's a formula to these Murphy-in-makeup comedies, which Norbit closely follows. It overstays its welcome a bit, and relies too heavily on toilet humor (despite the PG-13 rating, this one is for mature teens). I'm confident Murphy will one day try to top the creations he unleashed in Norbit, though next time he could improve the comedy with a few minor tweaks. For instance, what if Norbit's wife wasn't such an ogre? It would make it harder for us to wholeheartedly root for a Norbit-Kate relationship. Along those lines, what if Kate's fiancée wasn't a lying, cheating, backstabbing weasel?

Sometimes these comedies could benefit from a little gray area. Norbit isn't that deep. Instead, it's the kind of crass comedy where a slimy dance instructor (played by Marlon Wayans) talks about the Bible and his desire to "turn the other cheek," then walks away so we can see his bare ass.

Mr. Murphy, your Oscar is waiting.



Norbit

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th February 2007

Box Office USA: $95.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $95.7M

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Dreamworks Distribution LLC

Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 9%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 112

IMDB: 3.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Norbit, as Kate Thomas, as Big Jack Latimore, as Earl Latimore, as Blue Latimore (as Lester 'Rasta' Speight), Cuba Gooding Jr. as Deion Hughes, as Lord Have Mercy, Floyd Levine as Abe the Tailor, Anthony Russell as Giovanni, Pat Crawford Brown as Mrs. Henderson, Jeanette Miller as Mrs. Coleman, Michael Colyar as Morris the Barber, as Buster, Alexis Rhee as Mrs. Ling Ling Wong, as Pope Sweet Jesus

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.