Originally published 24 July 2008.
...You’d think I care about Hollywood or something. I really don’t; trust me. In fact, high on my list of Hollywood-related things I don’t care about is Eddie Murphy and everything about him.
Okay; too cruel. Everything about him after, say, 1986. There was a time, no doubt, when Eddie Murphy was brilliant – you know, incisive stand-up, great cocky movie roles, amazing characterizations on “Saturday Night Live”. There was a time when he was one of the funniest guys out there. Okay, okay, there was “Party All the Time” too. But no-one can be perfect.
That was more than 20 years ago. Obviously people can’t keep it going that long. There’s got to bee a cooling of pace, a dulling of the cutting-edge. It doesn’t matter to me that Eddie Murphy’s turned to family comedies. The problem is that he’s turned to absolute garbage family comedies.
Take for instance his current vehicle, Meet Dave. It is, of course, absolute garbage. The fact that I haven’t seen it, seen clips from it or even heard much of anything about it does not affect the fact that I know it to be absolute garbage. I mean, come on…
Playing multiple roles is not always a bad thing. Dr. Strangelove is an amazing movie, and Peter Sellers’s bravura performance gives it wings. Eddie Murphy can play multiple roles because he’s a decent character actor. He did Stevie Wonder and Gumby brilliantly on “Saturday Night Live”. His impersonations of his own family members during his stand-up routines are hilarious and filled with a loving humanity. The man has comedic talent.
But he just doesn’t care. By scouring imdb.com, I can ascertain that Meet Dave is the seventh multiple-role Eddie Murphy vehicle. And, like Norbit before it (which I have seen and truly hated), it is clearly nothing more than a multiple-role Eddie Murphy vehicle. I can’t see it having a profound message, having noteworthy music or supporting actors, being produced by a visionary, using colours or sets in a novel way… the sum total of this film is “Eddie Murphy plays multiple roles!” Again, for the seventh time. Even if the diminishing returns in question diminish imperceptibly slowly, by #7 there can’t be much more than an empty shell left.
And I don’t see why it needs to be that way. Eddie Murphy is truly funny, yet family-friendly, in the Shrek franchise. He hasn’t lost it. But he seems to have lost the desire to do anything really new with himself. So he just churns out the same film over and over again.
The thought that anybody would still be intrigued enough by this to see these movies makes no sense at all.