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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Norbit

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Judy Thorburn

Norbit

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"NORBIT" - FAT JOKES WEAR THIN

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“NORBIT” – FAT JOKES WEAR THIN

Eddie Murphy recently re-awakened his faltering movie career with a performance in Dream Girls that has already earned him numerous awards, and it’s a good bet he will walk way with the Oscar for Best Supported Male Actor for that film at the upcoming Academy Awards later this month. Not known for dramatic performances, he managed to surprise everyone with his role. Truth be known, comedy is Murphy’s genre. So now he is back doing what he does best in Norbit, a rather uneven comedy that, I will admit, had me occasionally, laughing out loud.

Murphy plays the title character, a mild mannered geek who is mentally, verbally, and physically abused by his despicable, morbidly obese wife. As in many of his past movies, he gets to have some fun by playing more than one character. By the way, have you noticed that many black comic actors relish getting into fat suits and parading around as elderly women with an attitude? Think Martin Lawrence in Big Mama’s House or Tyler Perry as the pot smoking, gun wielding, Madea. What is it about these men dressing up as women? Hmmmm!

Here, as three distinct looking, very different personas, Eddie Murphy is virtually unrecognizable beneath fabulous makeup by Hollywood master makeup artist, six time Oscar winner, Rick Baker who has him wearing a latex fat suit, garish clothes and wigs as the monstrous Resputia; in big glasses, 70’s clothes, and Afro wig, as her meek hubby Norbit; and as his adopted Asin father, Mr. Wong. Come to think of it, all of the incredible makeup looks so much like genuine skin, even in close-ups, it stands out as the best thing about this film.

Poor Norbit. Life for him was bad from the start. As an unwanted baby he was tossed out of a moving car and landed on the front steps of a combination Chinese Restaurant and Orphanage where he is raised by the owner Mr. Wong. Growing up Norbit befriends another orphan, a sweet little girl named Kate whom he forms a close relationship with until she gets adopted and moves away. Left alone to be picked on by bullies, big bad Rasputia enters the picture and saves the day, but only for a short time. Coerced into being her boyfriend and eventually her husband, it goes from bad to worse. Rasputia treats Norbit with an iron fist and is plain nasty, although she sees herself as beautiful and sexy and has no problem showing off her abundant mounds of rolled fat in a red negligee at bedtime, or in a pink bikini at a water park. There is one driving scene where her enormous breasts act to cushion the impact as if they were air bags, if you get the picture. Rasputia is so mean, even her three big muscular brothers, Big Jack (Terry Crews), Earl (Clifton Powell) and Blue (Lester “Rasta” Speight), who run the Latimore construction company and put Norbit to work, are scared of her.

As an adult, gorgeous but skinny Kate (Thandie Newton) moves back to town and immediately has Norbit falling in love and wanting to be with her, although he is sad to find out his childhood friend is engaged to Deion (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). Kate’s dream was to come back and buy the orphanage from the retiring Mr. Wong. But, the conniving brothers want it too, in hopes of turning the orphanage into a strip club. Mr. Wong wants nothing to do with them, and in turn the brothers set up a scheme in order to claim ownership. Rasputia can fool around with her tap dance instructor Bustor (a leotard wearing, buck toothed Marlon Wayons), with no regard for Norbit, yet has no intention of letting him be with his one true love, and sets out to stand in the way.

Eddie Griffin is a scene-stealer playing one of the town’s two pimps who thinks he is so cool, Pope Sweet Jesus. One of the funniest guys around, he cracks me up with his hysterical mannerisms and jive talk.

As a nod to his talent, Murphy brilliantly disappears into the different characters and separate personalities he creates. Norbit, so meek and innocent is the complete opposite of his other half, the aptly named Rasputia. And Mr. Wong, is something else altogether, a racist who doesn’t like Jews or Blacks but thinks it funny that “they both like Chinese food”.

So while the film does generate some laughs from funny dialogue and sight gags, it also stoops to some vulgar, tasteless jokes. And, I am sure fat people, especially heavyset black females, will find the stereotype offensive.

I won’t go so far as to say Norbit is the worst comedy of the year. Hey, this is only February. Yet, watching almost two hours of jokes that rely on making fun of a fat person, mean or not, takes its toll. As a mean spirited comedy, the film’s premise wears thin.