Published on March 9th, 2007 | by Paul Greenwood0
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding Jr, Terry Crews, Clifton Powell, Mighty Rasta, Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams
I found a lemon at the back of the fridge the other day that, judging by its somewhat distressed form, had gone unattended since the last of the Christmas cocktails were shaken. Not content with merely turning brown, it had further evolved into a charming white foam laced with flecks of green. Picking it up, putting it in the bin and spending the next hour cleaning the fridge was an infinitely more pleasurable experience than watching Norbit. Given the choice, I would probably eat it rather than sit through another viewing of this abomination.
A life sucking comedy of highly dubious intent, with a script that wasn’t so much written as crapped out by lobotomised monkeys, it sees Murphy take on his customary multiple roles, beginning with an elderly Chinese man who runs an orphanage where a baby is dumped in the ‘60s. That baby grows up to be Norbit (Murphy again) a put upon weakling who is terrorised by Murphy’s third incarnation, Rasputia, his monstrous wife. She’s really, really fat, see. And that’s it. That’s the joke.
Other than that, I’m afraid I’m struggling to tell you much more about what’s supposed to be happening in between a tedious assault of crude, witless or downright offensive attempted jokes. It’s not that the story is thin – there simply isn’t one. What passes for plot points include Norbit’s childhood sweetheart (Newton) returning to the town with her no good fiancé (Gooding, not even embarrassed), followed by some nonsense involving Rasputia’s gangster brothers trying to turn the orphanage into a titty bar.
Let’s try some statistics instead. A full quarter of the audience walked out long before the end. Not one single person laughed, one single time. Someone did make a noise that was kind of an embarrassed sigh, and that was as close as we got. But the fact that it’s painfully unfunny soon becomes the least of Norbit’s problems however, as the full extent of its staggering levels of racism and misogyny become apparent. So, erm, the makeup is very impressive. And that’s it. And even then, it’s only used as a platform to unleash yet more poison.
It’s clearly very easy for a bunch of morons to get together and make a movie, but surely there’s a modicum of quality control somewhere along the line? Someone in a position of responsibility must have, at some point, watched Norbit and considered it fit to be released. Who was this person and are they still able to hold down a job that doesn’t involve animal faeces? In the space of a few weeks, we’ve had Epic Movie followed by this rancid filth. I’m not sure I can take much more.