Movies You Aught Not Watch: Norbit
Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.
Many of us will die knowing Eddie Murphy once was a fast-talking, inventive funnyman. Baited by candy-colored junk like 2007’s “Norbit,” our kids will never know how that sensation felt.
Table the argument that Murphy’s making movies for kids because “Norbit” wore its PG-13 rating like elastic-waistband pants. (It appealed an original R rating, likely awarded for still-intact pubic-wax jokes and mean Chinese snuff-film wisecracks.)
Murphy plays three roles: the title character, who has the self-confidence of a dying gnat; his psycho wife, Rasputia, a grossly overweight abusive bully whose “love” feels a step above prison rape; and Mr. Wong, proprietor of a combination Chinese restaurant and orphanage. When Norbit’s childhood sweetheart (Thandie Newton) returns to town to purchase the orphanage, Norbit sets out to ditch Rasputia.
In all, “Norbit’s” a sweatier hell than the fat suit in which Murphy is trapped. Other than paydays, the only reason for “Norbit’s” existence is again showcasing the late Rick Baker’s makeup work — professionally applied as always, but here in service of a script seemingly thrown together by a co-writing Murphy between makeup-chair sessions.
As that writing goes, “Norbit’s” wretchedness would be incomplete without mentioning the contributions of hack screenwriting duo Jay Scherick and David Ronn.
Bravo, sirs. A special place in cinematic hell certainly awaits you.