|Norbit (HD DVD, 2007)|
Liberty, PA, USA
|Norbit (HD DVD, 2007)|
Bowie, MD, USA
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Average review score based on 119 user reviews
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Norbit (Eddie Murphy, channeling Buckwheat and Woody Allen) is a shy, nebbishy fellow, raised by Mr. Wong (Eddie Murphy again) in a combination orphanage/Chinese restaurant in Boiling Springs, Tennessee. As a child, Norbit comes to love Kate, a fellow orphan, but the soulmates are separated when Kate is adopted. Enter Rasputia, an aggressive, plus-sized 10-year-old who protects him from bullies and demands his romantic loyalty, much like her thuggish older brothers demand "protection" money from all the merchants in Boiling Springs. Rasputia and Norbit eventually marry--and the peevish adult Rasputia is played to great comic effect by Eddie Murphy in a fat suit. Although Rasputia is controlling, unfaithful, hideous-looking, and always madder than a hornet, she and Norbit make a life together, albeit one based on inertia, fear, and complacency. The bubble bursts when the now-grown Kate (Thandie Newton) returns to Boiling Springs to buy Mr. Wong's orphanage. Norbit's love is rekindled, and he must find a way to end his loveless marriage, save Kate from marrying a crooked philanderer (Cuba Gooding Jr., in a rare villainous turn), and prevent Rasputia's brothers from carrying through with a big con job that would destroy the orphanage and Kate's life. Eddie Murphy, not surprisingly, carries the show, with broad, juvenile humor, fat jokes, and pratfalls, and while he never aims very high, he manages to inject some poignancy into Norbit's and Wong's characters, even as he plays Rasputia strictly for laughs. It's not Shakespeare--it's not even BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE--but the laughs are as big as Rasputia's muumuu.
Eddie Murphy's "Norbit" is all over the map in terms of style; that's its appeal — genuinely sweet and totally vulgar without either tone cancelling out the other. In fact, the innocuous love story at the movie's core gives the audience permission to laugh at jokes that would otherwise be racist, sexist, or just downright cruel.
"Norbit" makes jokes at the expense of the handicapped, overweight and a broad array of ethnicities, while never feeling mean-spirited. The filmmakers have so much obvious affection for their hapless hero and the eccentric supporting players who surround him that the movie ends up being charming rather than offensive.
Murphy returns the comedic approach of "Coming To America" to play 3 different people in the same story. "Norbit", is a sweet but dorky young man raised in an orphanage owned by Chinese restaurateur Mr. Chow (also played by Murphy). As a boy, Norbit falls in love with fellow orphan Kate, but they are separated, and he ends up marrying the immensely overweight and obnoxious Rasputia — also played by Murphy.
Years pass and Norbit finds himself stuck in a miserable marriage, but he finds hope when Kate (Thandie Newton) returns to his life. The only problem is that she's engaged to be married. The plotting of Norbit then goes in a formulaic direction, with a scheme by Kate's evil fiancé to turn Mr. Chow's orphanage into a strip club. The story's very noirishly fresh; and the jokes pay off HARD., where they never stop being funny.
A small degree of uneven storytelling (the only reason it's not 5-star) becomes factually irrelevant with so many great individual moments that the movie has infectious good cheer.
Murphy is outstanding in all three of his roles, and the upshot is that one quickly forgets that the movie is a stunt and simply accepts each character as a distinctive comic invention. The megastar gets a lot of help from Rick Baker's make-up and technology, which is quite simply amazing. All the technology and make-up in the world can't invent a performance, however, and underneath the latex, Murphy creates original and compelling characters.
Norbit, in particular, is a winning hero, and Murphy has a perfect romantic costar in the equally engaging Newton. She exudes grace, intelligence, and warmth in every scene — no small achievement in a movie comprised of flatulence gags and pratfalls.
Murphy, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film, is smart enough to surround himself with talented supporting players — he knows that by letting others be appealing he only makes himself look better. There are some hilarious vignettes involving Eddie Griffin and Kat Williams as a pair of small-town pimps, and Marlon Wayans pulls off the impressive task of convincingly feigning desire for Rasputia.
With peripheral roles so strong, its ends up becoming an asset because it allows the actors to create outrageously funny digressions. The romance between Norbit and Kate is sandwiched between dozens of decorum-shattering jokes and sight gags, many of which focus on Rasputia's obesity.
In a weird way the total insensitivity of set pieces, like the one where Rasputia wreaks havoc at a water park, enhances the effectiveness of the love story.
"Norbit" is a satiric mockery of racial stereotyping. Murphy and his collaborators playfully mock human assumption and prejudices, while never endorsing them. To this, "Norbit" is a welcomed return to form for Murphy.
I've been an Eddie Murphy fan since the first time I heard his stand up and then saw him on the big screen in the early 80s. "Coming To America" is my all time favorite film in general and favorite Eddie Murphy film as well.
That being said, I love when this dude plays other characters in his films. I believe that this is the ONLY reason why I like certain parts of Norbit. The story line of this film is not great and the script is not much better, but some of the characters make up for where other areas lack in the film. Honestly I think much of the humor is free-styled more than written.
Mr. Wong is by far the funniest person in this film for me. Eddie does a good job as an old Asian man and I swear the toast at the wedding is the funniest part of the movie for me. Norbit is cool, nothing special about his character. Raphusia (spelling?) is okay as well but her voice gets annoying after a while.
Does this movie top previous Eddie Murphy films where he plays more than one character? No
Is this film enjoyable? To some degree
My husband came home with this movie after his partner at work recommended it. Frankly, I was rather put out that he'd spent good money on a movie I'd never heard of - let alone a movie he could only describe as, "another one of those 'starring Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy' flicks." To say I was skeptical would be an understatement.
The first surprise was seeing that Eddie and Charlie Murphy wrote the script together. OK, that's promising ... and then the show got underway. I have to say, this is CLASSIC Eddie Murphy at his best. If you don't like his brand of humor, you won't like this movie; but if you love what made Eddie Murphy a star and a household name, you will LOVE Norbit!
I'm surprised to see the negative reviews of this movie. One thing I have always LOVED about Eddie Murphy is his ability to take us back to a simpler time when "politically correct" comedy was unimaginable. What was funny was funny. Period. I mean, please! If "Blazing Saddles" had edited itself for "racist" content, would it have been anywhere near the comedic classic it has become? So forget about all this "it's racist", "it's insulting to fat people", it's blah, blah, blah. It's just funny. It pokes fun of situations and personality types we ALL know. One of his greatest charms is that Eddie has always been very in touch with his inner child, and this movie reflects the best of his sense of humor.
If you can watch the entire public pool scene without laughing, you should probably seek professional help ... or hire a detective to help you find your sense of humor. "Ma'am? Are you wearing bottoms?" OMG, I was rolling on the floor on that one! I HIGHLY recommend this movie, and I'm saying that as one of the "converted" who had no interest in it whatsoever until I actually SAW IT.
Good movie, lots of laughs. Eddie Murphy plays a triad of roles. (actually four if you count the baby, lol) I was incredibly impressed with his role as the elderly Chinese man. Norbit is thrown to the curb of an oriential orphanage, and raised there, where he meets his one true love, and gets married underneath the tall oak tree, complete with ring pops exchanged. Years later he runs into his childhood sweetheart who has now blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Norbits, overbearing, overweight. and over-the-top battle axe wife (played also by himself) makes life quite missarble for Norbit, but alas true love wins in the end. 4 stars****