Meet Dave [DVD]

eddie-murphy

By Clint Morris

It makes sense that in his latest film Eddie Murphy plays a guy who’s controlled by other people – because that’s essentially what’s going on behind-the-scenes. The man has had someone else pushing the buttons for him for quite a few years now.

Eddie Murphy, the actor, doesn’t exist – the only thing that exists is a brand known as ‘Eddie Murphy’, and it’s an entity controlled by a group of shareholders whose members range from publicists, managers, studio execs and publicists.

The company doesn’t screw with the brand – it’s a dependable label that you can rely on. And if gets off-track – say, by doing something ‘against the grain’ like “Dreamgirls” (which he was nominated an Oscar for) – Murphy’s career quickly has it’s system restored to the last point of save.

Murphy’s livelihood has seemingly been in other’s hands since he was crowned the king of the fart comedy after the success of his “Nutty Professor” remake. From there he did a “Doctor Dolittle” redo (another hit), another “Professor”, and recently, “Norbit”. In near all those films, Murphy played about five different characters – and for the most part, each of them had about one joke each. Yep, some of the flicks have been a little on the anorexic side.

Those that grew up watching Murphy on “Saturday Night Live”, and as the funny foul-mouthed star of such flicks as “Trading Places” and “Beverly Hills Cop”, are about the only ones not happy with the Eddie Murphy of today. And that’s understandable – his target audience these days pretty much starts and ends with the primary school classroom. The kids that have rushed out to see “Dolittle” or “Norbit” wouldn’t have even heard of Axel Foley, let alone be aware of Murphy’s presence in film before he could ‘talk to the animals’.

“Meet Dave”, though still clearly aimed at the young ones, is one of the better family comedies Murphy has done in recent times. It’s not exactly laugh-out-loud – though it is amusing – but it’s imaginative, something you can’t say for a lot of Murphy’s other recent vehicles.

In it, Murphy plays the leader of a crew of miniature aliens that operate a spaceship that has a human form (Murphy, too).
The aliens are seeking a way to save their planet, Nil, from an energy crisis by draining the Earth’s Oceans for salt. However, complications arise when the Captain falls in love with single mother Gina Morrison (Elizabeth Banks).

It’s a completely ridiculous film, with a truly messy plot, but “Meet Dave” is fun – at times, a lot of fun (I laughed a lot in the whole “Old Navy” scene – you should too). I tell ay though, I still miss the old Murphy – the trash-talking smart-ass of “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Raw”, and by golly I hope we see him again… soon.

Loosen the noose Hollywood, Murphy’s paid his dues in kiddie comedies.

Extras

Nothing but a short “Cast Confessions” Featurette. Shit, there were more bonuses on “Beverly Hills Cop 3″.