The 52 Worst Films of the 2000s

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.

Rated PG-13

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.

Easily the worst comedy writers of the Zeroes, they will have not only three films on this list by the time it’s done, but — as the writers of last week’s “National Security” — two in two weeks.

Bravo, sirs. A special place in cinematic hell certainly awaits you.

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4 Responses to “Movies You Aught Not Watch: Norbit”

  1. Corey Miller says:

    Ah, Norbit, they should have named it Horrible, because that’s what this film was. I used to work w/a couple of people that love this movie and it’s beyond me why. It wasn’t funny in the least and the dressing up in costumes/makeup like he does is getting real old. I just can’t believe it was up for an Oscar last year. That I wish I was joking about.

  2. Nick Rogers says:

    Brenda: Eddie Murphy has been fooling people for more than 20 years now. It’s quite sad, really. Thanks for reading!

    Kymberly: I contend that "Coming to America" was his last great movie. Too bad it came out in 1988. Thanks for reading!

  3. Kymberly Shoulders says:

    This movie once again, reassured my desire never to see another Eddie Murphy movie! He should have stopped after Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop.

  4. Brenda Randall says:

    I spent money to see this movie because the main character was played by Eddie Murphy (who is a fairly good comedian). This movie was anything but funny.