Norbit – DVD Review

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Directed by:
Brian Robbins

Eddie Murphy ……… Norbit/Rasputia/Mr. Wong
Thandie Newton ……… Kate Thomas
Terry Crews ……… Big Jack Latimore
Cuba Gooding Jr ………. Deion Hughes
Eddie Griffin ……… Pope Sweet Jesus
Marlon Wayans ……… Buster

The Film:
You know how you can enjoy some movies that aren’t really good, but are still fun? Movies like Bring it On, Scary Movie, Harold & Kumar Go to While Castle, Van Wilder and other movies like that, which aren’t “quality cinema”, just mindless fun and a good way to spend a couple of hours? Norbit is not like that.

Eddie Murphy goes back to doing one of his favorite things — playing multiple characters in the same movie. We’ve seen him do this in Coming to America, Bowfinger and the two Nutty Proffesor movies. This time he plays both leads of the movie — Norbit and his wife Rasputia. He also plays a secondary character, Mr. Wong the orphanage owner.

Norbit is an orphan that grows up in Mr. Wong’s orphanage/Chinese restaurant. As a kid he meets Rasputia in the playing ground and she makes him her boyfriend and later husband. Now, Rasputia isn’t just any gal. She’s fat. Yes, one would think that after Big Momma’s House we’ll get a little break from big black bossy women played by men. And Rasputia isn’t just any big woman. She’s bossy, obnoxious, rude, eats like a pig and comes from a family of criminals. Norbit lives his pathetic little life until his kindergarten sweetheart, Kate, comes back to town. Norbit’s still in love with her, Rasputia is getting angry, Kate’s fiancé is getting in business with Rasputia’s crook brothers and hilarity ensues.

Not really. The biggest problem with Norbit? It isn’t funny. It’s full of cliché’s, expected jokes and stuff we’ve seen countless times before. The novelty of seeing Murphy play three different roles (If there was any) wears off within minutes. The movie has two redeeming points — Eddie Griffin’s pimp character and Buster the Power Tap guru, played by Marlon Wayans. These two are actually hilarious, but their too minor to save the movie.

Eddie Murphy used to be one of the funniest guys in Hollywood. His early movies from the eighties are still funny even twenty years after they were made. Lately we’ve seen him deliver a great dramatic performance in Dreamgirls. This movie, however, just taints his career. It’s not like he never made bad movies but this one is just terribly bad. Do yourselves a favor and skip it, and for Eddie Murphy’s sake, I hope no-one will remember he ever made Norbit.

The DVD:
A single disc release that arrives in a snapper case. You don’t see many snappers these days but it’s a good packaging and the disc sits firmly inside.

The Video:
A good widescreen transfer, but nowadays all recently produced movies get a good video transfer to DVD.

The Audio:
5.1 surround in English and French. The movie sounds good but it’s not heavy on audio effects so it’s not the main selling point here.

The Extras:
This one’s pretty heavy on the extras. We have two backstage featurettes. The first one is a standard “making of” with interviews with all the major players. The other a shorter and dedicated to the makeup process it took in order to turn Eddie Murphy into the three characters. Even more than Rasputia, I think the transformation to Mr. Wong is the true highlight here, because it’s so well done that unless you know it’s Murphy, you’ll never guess it. There are also 14 deleted scenes, most of them are short and insignificant. There are a few that are very funny, but of course, they feature the pimps, so it’s expected. The best extra feature is an infomercial for Power Tap, hosted by Buster (Marlon Wayans) and extremely funny. The DVD also includes previews for other DVD releases, mainly Eddie Murphy movies that remind us how good he used to be (and still can be) and a trailer for the Transformers movie, now in theaters.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Norbit
(OUT OF 10)