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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday, July 28, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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NORBIT

SYNOPSIS:
Life has always been tough for Norbit (Eddie Murphy). His childhood at the Golden Wonton Restaurant and Orphanage, where he was raised by Mr Wong (Eddie Murphy) was fraught with problems, and as an adult, he is bullied into marrying the domineering, obese Rasputia (Eddie Murphy). Then Norbit's childhood sweetheart Kate (Thandie Newton) arrives back in town and he is smitten all over again. Trouble is, she has a possessive fiancé Deion (Cuba Gooding Jnr), and now Rasputia is seething with jealousy.

Review by Louise Keller:
The only time I laughed in Norbit had nothing to do with Eddie Murphy. It was an absurd moment when a talking dog murmurs 'Kill the bitch', a sentiment with which it is hard to disagree. Crass, offensive and decidedly unfunny, Norbit is a sorry backward step for Murphy whose ego is out of control as he embodies unfortunate stereotypes and blubbers in a fat suit. Beyond the novelty value of the extraordinary make-up, prosthetics and technical gee-whizzery of Murphy playing a Chinaman, a nerd and an obese tyrant-ess, Norbit has little to offer with its clunky, heavy handed attempt at humour and abysmal script.

Murphy's Rasputia is a terrifying creation with precariously dangling watermelon breasts, rolls and folds of dimpled cellulite and a temper to outdo the most violent thunderstorm. When she squeezes herself into her metallic purple car with animal-print seats and matching steering wheel cover, the horn honks; the bikini scene in which she scoops up her massive stomach to show the turnstile attendant she is wearing hot pink bikini bottoms is way too much information. The same can be said for the bikini waxing, the car-washing, the bubble bath and sex scenes. The filmmakers' big mistake in this painful, low-brow disaster, is their misguided belief that Murphy in make-up and a fat suit is automatically funny. They seem to have forgotten that a good script is mandatory.

Thank goodness for Thandie Newton, who is a breath of fresh air as Norbit's childhood sweetheart Kate, the only character with heart. Marlon Wayans plays an aerobics guru who finds his way into Rasputia's bed, Eddie Griffin and Katt Williams are gawdily dressed pimps and Cuba Gooding Jnr should have known better than to take on the role of Kate's sleazy fiancé. Credit goes to the massive make-up, silicone and prosthetics department, whose artistry is truly astounding, but whose talents in this unfortunate case are painfully wasted.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

NORBIT (M)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Terry Crews, Clifton Powell, Lester 'Rasta' Speight, Cuba Gooding jnr, Addie Griffin, Katt Williams, Marlon Wayans

PRODUCER: John Davis, Eddie Murphy, Michael Tollin

DIRECTOR: Brian Robbins

SCRIPT: Jay Scherick, David Ronn

CINEMATOGRAPHER: J. Clark Mathis

EDITOR: Ned Bastille

MUSIC: David Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Clay A. Griffith

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 22, 2007







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