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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Eddie Murphy, have you no shame?

“Norbit”DreamWorks SKGDirected by Brian RobbinsWritten by Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy, Jay Scherick and David RonnStarring: Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding Jr., Marlon Wayans and Eddie Griffin Rated PG-13/102 minutesOpens Feb. 9, 2007Zero out of four stars

Without hesitation, I can say that Eddie Murphy’s “Norbit” is one of the worst movies ever made.

Not just one of the worst comedies – which it is by a wide and laughless margin – but one of the worst movies. Ever. Even that last “Texas Chainsaw” movie aimed at loathsome and hit it. “Norbit” aims at comedy and misses the mark by so far you have to wonder where the hell it was aiming–straight at the ground?

To think Eddie Murphy went through hours of makeup to become a 400 pound beast-of-a-woman named Rhespucia (she’s as gorgeous as her name) who has the fakest looking big boobs since Pamela Anderson and a shrill, stampeding attitude that never becomes more than a flailing, desperately unfunny act by an actor in a fat suit.

What a waste.

The filmmakers make the wrongheaded assumption that a fat, crude, African-American woman – no, a fat, crude, African-American man made to look like a woman – no, a fat, angry, bikini-clad African-American man made to look like a woman is funny all by itself. What they forgot to include were jokes.

With all the gaffers, grips, best boys, focus pullers, boom mic guys and coffee-go-getters on set watching this damning evidence of a movie star’s oversized ego recorded forever on 35mm film, someone should have nudged director Brian Robbins and told him to cut his losses. Perhaps he could have sliced up the film and sold the pieces as tiddlywinks.

However, it’s hard to place the blame squarely on Robbins’ shoulders when Murphy was responsible for the story (along with his brother, Charlie) and humbly stars in three roles, all under extensive makeup and prosthetics, and all under the belief that these characters are funny: There’s the repugnant Rhespucia, the kind of woman who talks back to her TV, especially to the comparably stable women on Jerry Springer’s show; her nerdy husband Norbit, whom she terrorizes like Godzilla terrorizes Japan; and the cranky, old Mr. Wong, a witless assemblage of every Asian clich in the book (R’s instead of L’s, complains about the lack of Laundromats in suburbia, “jokes” about throwing away worthless baby girls).

Murphy plays all of these characters loudly and obnoxiously, as if he’s trying to project his “comedy” to another planet – one where, perhaps, the stupid aliens appreciate loud and obnoxious performances. The supporting actors aren’t much better. Thandie Newton plays the cute and totally brain-dead Kate, Norbit’s best friend and first love from the orphanage where the two grew up. She’s engaged to Deion (Cuba Gooding Jr., a name synonymous with career-sinking movies), who wants to use Kate’s money to buy the orphanage, tear it down and build a strip club named “Nipplopolis.” I am not making that up.

Come along with me, dear readers, further down the dark path of this moronic storyline?

Norbit wants to dump the bullying Rhespucia and marry Kate for reasons unknown other than to get away from Rhespucia, and because idiots deserve each other, I guess. There’s a scene in a restaurant where the nerdy, Bubba Gump-lipped Norbit asks Kate if she really loves Deion and the way Thandie Newton furrows her brow, rolls her eyes and opens and shuts her mouth like an indecisive guppy is the kind of bad acting that sets the profession back about 50 years.

Movie theaters showing “Norbit” should do the humane thing – the right thing – and issue a cyanide pill to anyone who buys a ticket to this bomb. I sure hope Murphy wins an Oscar for “Dreamgirls,” because if he doesn’t, he’s in for one long, depressing month.

“Look, I’m exercising. Give me a cookie.” Eddie Murphy proves once and for all that he’s a has-been in “Norbit.”

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