The year is 2087, and humans have colonised the Moon. In Little America, Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy) an ex-smuggler, runs the hottest nightclub in town. But when henchmen of the shadowy underworld figure Rex Crater turn up on his doorstep and make him an offer he can’t refuse, Pluto makes a fateful mistake – he refuses. With his club in ruins and assassins on his tail, Pluto’s only option is to hit the road in the company of his faithful robot bodyguard Bruno (Randy Quaid) and an aspiring singer Dina Lake (Rosario Dawson). By buying himself some time, Pluto hopes to figure out what’s going on, and how to get to the mysterious Crater.
Review by David Edwards:
The Adventures of Pluto Nash has the dubious distinction of being the biggest box office loser of all time. From a $US100 million budget, the film grossed just over $US4 million in its theatrical release in North America. That makes its release here just before Christmas all the more appropriate - it’s a real turkey.
Screenwriter Neil Cuthbert must have thought he was onto a winner with this story, which seeks to blend the most obvious elements of 1930s and 1940s gangster films with sci-fi and comedy. The film makes no bones about its homage to great movies of the past – hell, at one point, our heroes even go to the “old abandoned mine”.
But director Ron Underwood (who quite successfully blended elements of old westerns with comedy in City Slickers) mangles the whole thing completely. There’s no fresh edge to the material, while the comedy is ham-fisted at best and woeful at worst. Matters aren’t helped by a rather self-indulgent central performance from Eddie Murphy, who it seems has made no effort to refine his stock character from Beverly Hills Cop days.
While his comic timing hasn’t failed him, the character and the performance are so routine, it’s become boring. Randy Quaid gets a very raw deal as Pluto’s robot sidekick and Rosario Dawson could have phoned in her role as Pluto’s love interest. Along the way, talented actors like John Cleese, Pam Grier, Jay Mohr and Illeana Douglas suffer various indignities in a hopeless effort to bring some shred of respectability to the project.
Perhaps the most telling comment on The Adventures of Pluto Nash come from a bunch of about seven 12 year old boys who sat near me in the theatre. By the end of this flaccid comedy, despite all the explosions and bodily function jokes, even they were bored.
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PLUTO NASH (M)
CAST: Eddie Murphy, Rosario Dawson, Jay Mohr, Randy Quaid, Joe Pantoliano, Victor Varnado
PRODUCER: Martin Bregman, Michael Scott Bregman, Louis A. Stroller
DIRECTOR: Ron Underwood
SCRIPT: Neil Cuthbert
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Wood
EDITOR: Alan Heim, Paul Hirsch
MUSIC: John Powell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Brzeski
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 21, 2002