Movie Review: Norbit

Find Norbit on DVD at AmazonMovie: Norbit (PG-13)
Released: February 9th, 2007
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 min.
Ticket Price: $5.00 Early Matinee
Refreshments: Small Popcorn
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Director: Brian Robbins

Rating: It Might Be on TV One Day –

Synopsis: Norbit played by Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls, The Nutty Professor) is a good-natured chap who was left to grow up in an orphanage/Chinese restaurant. He ends up marrying Rasputia (also Murphy). She is the big giant woman who is the exact opposite of his childhood sweetheart, who has just moved back into town. Norbit tries to figure a way out of his predicament and get the girl of his dreams.

Review: “Have you ever made a really big mistake?” That is the tag line from the movie poster for Norbit. Upon leaving the theater my answer is, yes! Going to see Norbit is a huge mistake of Rasputia proportions. Norbit is not the worst movie ever made but a comedy it was not. The story is sweet but most attempts at laughter leave you sour.

Norbit is dumped off as a baby at a Chinese restaurant/Orphanage where the owner, Mr. Wong (again also Murphy), takes him in. He loses his best friend and sweetheart, Kate, at age five when she gets adopted. Norbit never gets adopted and is the dork that gets picked on in school. Then one day Rasputia comes to his rescue. From then on he is stuck with her. He likes being part of her family because in his eyes, any family is better than being alone. Norbit ends up marrying Rasputia. He is too scared to leave because of Rasputia’s wrath and her three brothers. Norbit goes along with the only family he has ever known.

Then Kate played by Thandie Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness, Mission: Impossible II) comes back to town with the dream of taking over the orphanage from Mr. Wong. This gets Norbit thinking about his life and what it could be. He tries to figure out how to get out from under Rasputia and get Kate’s scoundrel of a finance played by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Radio, Jerry Maguire) out of the picture. Comedy is supposed to ensue.

Norbit is supposed to be a sweet love story told inside a lowbrow bawdy comedy in the vein of a movie like There’s Something About Mary. But, unlike that movie, this one falls short faster than a fat woman down a waterslide. My initial thoughts were confirmed. This is just one movie too far for Eddie Murphy playing multiple characters. Sometimes he is funny like the old man in the barbershop in Coming to America or the Klump family in the first Nutty Professor movie. I think he is better off when these types of characters are small side characters and not main characters in the story being told.

Seeing that the movie studios keep greenlighting these types of movies with Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence playing multiple characters, I have a suggestion. They have teamed up before in the relatively well-regarded movie Life and should be brought back together again. This time though, they play all the characters. Nobody else. It would be just the two of them and a big makeup and prosthetics team. If they are funny doing two or three characters then when they play everyone, its got to be hilarious, right?

I have to say, stay away as it will be on TV one day. If not for the charming story trying to be told and the beautiful Newton, Norbit would be a definite, don’t even bother.

What did you think of Norbit?

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Jason of New Movie Friday
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