It’s never a good sign when the star of the film doesn’t attend his own premiere regardless of the excuses his handlers fed the press.
Published July 11, 2008
It’s never a good sign when the star of the film doesn’t attend his own premiere regardless of the excuses his handlers fed the press. It’s also kind of suspect when a week before the film opens the star starts talking retirement. After seeing “Meet Dave” part of me thinks Eddie Murphy was right to blow off the red carpet Tuesday night. The other part of me thinks all this retirement talk is a bit premature but that perhaps Murphy should end his love affair with family-friendly films.
“Meet Dave,” which opens wide Friday is being marketed as Eddie Murphy in Eddie Murphy because Murphy, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Elizabeth Banks, Scott Caan and a bunch of other people live inside Dave’s head and control his thoughts, speech and motor skills. Dave has landed head first on Liberty Island in New York and immediately becomes the ultimate fish out of water.
The good: Many of Murphy’s facial expressions and physical reactions make you recall why you fell in love with him 20 years ago. And there are some fun moments between Murphy and Banks.
The bad: The script is so sophomoric that I don’t think anyone over six will find the storyline at all engaging. The film is only 90 minutes but that’s about 30 minutes too long for Murphy and the gang to muddle through such weak material.
If Murphy is in fact contemplating retirement, maybe it’s because he’s not the box office king he once was. How can he be when he agrees to do films like “Norbit” and “Pluto Nash?” The smart thing for him to do now is to grow up and find himself a nice romantic comedy where he doesn’t have little people swimming around in his mouth or jumping out of his ear as is the case in “Dave.” Or wear some corny fat suit like he did in “Norbit.”
He might also try doing a biopic or two. Murphy is a wonderful mimic and if he found the right project he could perhaps snag another Oscar nomination. I didn’t think he was all that in “Dreamgirls,” but it was great to see him act as opposed to react.
Right now it just feels like Murphy’s drowning in that pool of middle-age delusion—perhaps saying to himself that he’s just one hit away from regaining the crown he inadvertently passed on toWill Smith and Jamie Foxx.
The truth is, however, that Murphy’s one bomb away from further damaging his legacy.