Movie review: Norbit - A Comedy Disaster From Eddie Murphy

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Eddie Murphy became famous for his comedy movies. I have seen and enjoyed some of them while others weren't as good. It has seemed like most of his movies in the past have been more silly than everything with the exception of Dreamgirls. Norbit is the worst movie he’s made and probably one of the worst movies ever made by anyone.

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Norbit grew up in a combination orphanage and Chinese restaurant run by Mr. Wong. He and another orphan, Kate, were inseparable until she was adopted. After that happened, he was frequently lonely and picked on. That stopped when an overbearing, overweight girl named Rasputia stepped in and decided that she was his girlfriend.

As the years passed, Norbit was pulled deeper into Rasputia’s life. He started working for her three thug like brothers and they were eventually married. Rasputia was just as aggressive in the bedroom as she was in the rest of her life. She completely dominated Norbit and he was miserable. He was thrilled when Kate returned to town with plans of buying the orphanage with Deion, the man she was going to marry. Norbit and Kate renewed their friendship which infuriated Rasputia. At the same time, Deion was plotting with Rasputia’s brothers to get control of the orphanage away from Kate and turn it into a strip club.

Even though I have enjoyed some of Eddie Murphy’s other comedies, including some of the sillier ones, I really wasn’t that interested in seeing Norbit when it came out. I should have gone with my first instincts and not bothered with this movie. At least I found it on HBO and didn’t actually spend money specifically for it. As it is, I want my time back. I would have gotten more enjoyment out of scrubbing the toilet with a toothbrush.

Norbit was supposed to be a comedy. Frankly, I didn’t think anything about the movie was funny and I didn’t laugh once. I just kept waiting for it to be over. Norbit was treated horribly by many people, especially Rasputia. I didn’t see anything funny about the abusive way she treated him. I’m guessing all the nasty things that Rasputia said and did were supposed to be funny, but they weren’t. Rasputia was a vulgar, obnoxious, cruel woman with a grating voice that was without any likable or redeeming qualities. There were many jokes about Rasputia’s weight that I didn’t think worked. Many things done to try to add humor were gross and even more things were just stupid and not funny at all. Other things, like when Rasputia decided to run down a neighbor’s dog, were just flat out cruel. The humor will probably offend some viewers.


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Norbit was full of vulgarity and swearing, making it completely inappropriate for children. Breasts were referred to by a slang term numerous times. There were several sexual remarks and even a few sexual situations between Norbit and Rasputia. There was nothing entertaining or funny about seeing her leap on top of Norbit and flatten him on the bed over and over while wearing some sort of outfit that she considered sexy and attractive. It really wasn’t pleasant to see Rasputia in some of the outfits she wore and I really could have done without seeing her in a bikini with the bottom half not even visible because of her rolls of fat. There weren’t any actual sex scenes, but it was made clear that Rasputia was having sex with her dance instructor Buster. He showed off a lot of skin, including his bare backside. Rasputia did show off a lot of skin throughout the movie without being actually nude. The sexual situations and language caused the movie to be rated PG-13. I think they pushed things just about as far as they could for that rating.

Eddie Murphy has played several characters in one movie many times during his career. That has worked fine in some cases. For Norbit, Murphy played both Norbit and Rasputia as well as Mr. Wong. This is the third movie that he has worn a fat suit to play a very obese character. In the Nutty Professor movies, Murphy played the main character as well as several members of his family, all of which were very overweight. I’m afraid that a pattern is starting to develop here and am just hoping he leaves the fat suit behind for future movies. The makeup and fait suit for Rasputia were done well and had a believable look overall. Not only did Murphy act in this movie, but he was also involved in writing it. He had been involved in the writing of some of his earlier, much better movies as well. This was the first time he did any of the writing in twelve years and if Norbit is indicative of his writing ability and plot ideas now, he should stick to acting. I did enjoy the Nutty Professor movies for the most part even though there were parts I didn’t like, mainly because Sherman was a likeable character. When I really don’t care for any of the characters, it makes it hard for me to like the movie. I also didn’t really care for the plot overall either.


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Norbit was a wimpy man who let other people walk all over her his entire life. There did seem to be some people around town that liked him, but he was still treated horribly by his wife. He wasn’t a bad character, but he wasn’t exactly likable either. I think Rasputia is one of the meanest, nastiest, and just downright rude characters I have ever seen in a movie. She liked to literally throw her weight around. I didn’t care for Eddie Murphy in either of these roles, or as Mr. Wong for that matter. Murphy has done so much better. It just blows my mind that he would choose to follow up his strong performance in Dreamgirls with this mess. Before this movie was released, Murphy had actually won many awards for that performance and had received an Oscar nomination that many believed would be a win. I did hear some people saying they thought that this movie, coming out while the voting for the Oscars was still going on, cost him the award. After seeing the movie, I think those people have a very good point.

Kate was the only decent character, but she wasn’t developed enough. She was sweet and nice, but she didn’t seem to be the smartest at times. I didn’t think her relationship with Norbit was believable either. Thandie Newton has done so much better than this that I have to wonder why she took the part. Deion was barely in the movie and really didn’t do much in the few scenes he was in. Cuba Gooding Jr., who did a good job with his small part in American Gangster, continued to show with this movie that he has horrible taste in picking roles for the most part. Rasputia’s brothers turned in a few scenes. There were such flat characters that I couldn’t keep their names straight and all they did was intimidate others. Buster, Rasputia’s dance instructor, was only around in a few scenes thankfully. There was nothing to his character.


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Norbit was easily one of the worst movies. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, not even Eddie Murphy fans.

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Norbit was a lot better than it gets credit for but Eddie was just trying to milk the playing of several characters in the same film a bit too much at this point... plus the "how you doin?" catchphrase did not catch on and I think that was a big part of it. It's slapstick and stupid but it does have its moments every now and then.

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