It might not sound like it, but combining the right stars with the right director and the right writers is hard work. Eddie Murphy once had a stellar comedy career and appeared in funny films like Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, and 48 HRS. But recently it has been nothing but bad films and poor family films for Murphy. Murphy can still be funny, we just haven’t seen it lately. Perhaps his worst film to date was Norbit. So when you hear that Murphy is once again pairing with the director of Norbit, you can only expect the worst. But is Meet Dave really as bad or could it actually be funny and a turnaround for Murphy’s comedy career?
In Meet Dave, a crew of Lilliputian aliens man a human-sized spaceship that goes by the name of Dave (Eddie Murphy). They are sent to Earth to retrieve a planet-killing device the size of a small rock. The Dave crew soon meets up with single mom Gina (Elizabeth Banks) and her son Josh (Austin Lynd Myers), who has found the rock, only to lose possession of the crucial device to a school bully. Now set free in New York City, the crew (including Eddie Murphy, Gabrielle Union, and Ed Helms) uses Dave to absorb as much human culture as they can, finding attachment to Gina and Josh, and getting wrapped up in Earthbound emotions they are unaccustomed to.
This sounds like a ridiculous premise for a film, even for a science-fiction film. But really it’s a rather unique concept. Once you dig deeper into the film, though, you will find that this is mainly just your standard “fish-out-of-water” story. Director Brian Robbins doesn’t do the film any justice, but thankfully he is saved a little bit by the writers who have helped write How I Met Your Mother and Mystery Science Theater 3000. They try to blend three realities into one, and it’s noble effort, but they just can’t help but fill this film with bathroom and stereotypical humor.
Eddie Murphy actually saves this from being as bad as Norbit. This is not his funniest performance to date, but it is definitely not his worst. He shows off his comedy skills many times during this film, but unfortunately for him and us, there is not a whole lot to work with. There is a great supporting cast around Murphy including Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union, and Scott Caan, but they aren’t given much either. Some might even argue that without the inclusion of these stars, this film might have gone straight to DVD.
Meet Dave won’t revive Eddie Murphy’s comedy career, but it could have be a lot worse. At least the premise of the film is well thought out, despite it looking ridiculous on paper. Unforunately, the execution is not up to standards. Brian Robbins should probably never work with Eddie Murphy again. Murphy shows signs that his comedy skills are still alive. Meet Dave is not really good, but at least it is somewhat watchable. That is an accomplishment today for an Eddie Murphy film.
The video is given in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The video is pretty average for a new release film. Nothing too special at all there are no, but no major problems at all.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital Surround sound, or French Dolby Digital Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, but this is a strictly average mix.
“Crew Confessions” Featurette –
This runs 7 and half minutes and it has the starship crew members explain their function on board the ship. It’s just as interesting and exciting as it sounds, which is not that much considering it’s the only “extra.”
This is not worth a purchase for anyone really. Only hardcore Eddie Murphy fans will want to rent this as well. But if there is nothing else in your local movie rental store or everything else on your Netflix Movie Queue has a “LONG WAIT,” then this is at least watchable as a distraction on a weekend night.
20th Century FOX Home Entertainment presents Meet Dave. Directed by Brian Robbins. Starring Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union, Scott Caan, Judah Friedlander, Ed Helms, and Austin Lynd Myers. Written by Rob Greenberg and Bill Corbett. Running time: 90 minutes. Rated PG. Released on DVD: November 25, 2008.
Available at Amazon.
Tags: Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Fox