A life sucking comedy of highly dubious intent.
Some of the most learned people sitting in a classroom or college lecture hall can be the most dry & out-of-touch individuals I have met in the world. You, sir, sound like one of those people.
The screenwriters of Norbit - Mr. Eddie & Charlie Murphy - have proven to be spot on in their artistic portrayal of the realities of modern marriages & multi-cultural 21st century America.
I was the top student in my high school British literature class. I ticked off my PH.D. professor because I embarrassed him as an 18 year old in front of the class about his screw-up on one of our tests. He was considered by many alumni to be the best teacher in the institution - I still made a fool of him.
So I understand how seriously some of you film buff/literary people can be about your cinema.
My teacher thought he was pretty hot stuff in the literature department.
You critics have a right to dislike something - and in America, we have a First Amendment protecting your speech. But if Norbit is as unfunny & life-less as you claim, then why did it excel so prosperously at the box office?
The film had to brighten the lives of many if it inspired that many people to go see it - not just in the first weekend, but in subsequent weekends due to word of mouth.
The chief complaints I have read are that the film is crude, base, racist & filled with misogynist fat jokes.
If one has genteel, prissy & delicate sensibilities, this film is probably not fun for you. Eddie Murphy has most always been blunt - but truthful. (As Robert Downey Jr. once declared 'The most messed up people I've met are the most honest ones'. Robert has been to prison, remember. So he would know.)
But my problem with genteel, polite people is that sometimes their diplomatic politics inhibits & even obstructs their ability to see clearly & truthfully. When you sugar-coat things in life, you fail to appreciate the bitter reality.
On the contrary, this Murphy film succeeds brilliantly at depicting reality through a surreal story. Rather than be "life-less", the film is a fantastic depiction of harsh but honest realities in life:
1. There are racist people who can still be altruistic & even charming (like Mr. Wong).
(Sometimes the racism is so innately part of their environment/upbringing that the racist person perhaps doesn't even appreciate that his/her views are backwards.) Ex: My caucasian friend from Brooklyn was watching baseball legend Ted Williams give a TV interview. He said in front of the tv "How is it that a racist can be so charming"? Example 2: Ronald Reagan charmed millions into giving him two terms as President- yet he initiated his Presidential campaign in the South... deliberately stirring up the racial resentment of white southerners in the late 1970s who were angry that the Civil Rights laws of the 70s were directed at them. I'm not saying Ronald Reagan was a racist - but he did exploit white racial resentment. (Think back to the "white hands" advertisement of Jesse Helms).
As an Asian-American man myself, I know that a lot of the racist comments Mr. Wong makes about black people are exactly the kind of attitudes that old Asian men in my family circle say about blacks. Eddie Murphy grew up in the melting pot of NYC - and he is directly on point with his depiction of how some Asians have these condescending thoughts about black people.
I give credit to Mr. Murphy for having the audacity to show these attitudes on the big screen for the world to see - and to do it in a fun way where we can laugh at how ridiculous we humans can be. Laughing together is much more constructive than shouting/arguing/trying to out-do one another.
My mother arrived in America in 1980 from Asia. She & many of her Asian colleagues run businesses like Mr. Wong's restaurant. My mother was pretty surprised that a black man like Barack Obama could beat a white established politician like John McCain. That just goes to show how important Obama's presidency has been for America -
I suspect some elitists film buffs have a hard time considering Eddie Murphy to be a serious actor or serious artist. I wouldn't be surprised if some of you also have a hard time considering Barack Obama a serious leader.
2. There are many dishonest people like Gooding Jr.'s character who marry for money. They marry so they can use their spouse, not love them.
3. In modern society where women are becoming financially independent, female abuse of their partners is on the rise. In previous generations, when women accepted with more resignation the role of homemaker, it may have been more likely for a woman to respect a man as long as he was a productive financial provider.
Female infidelity is on the rise. And domestic, emotional abuse by females against their partners is a reality. Mr. Murphy & his brother succeeded at portraying this serious cultural/legal/psychological issue in a fun, light-hearted fairy-tale.
Aug 28 - 10:15 PM
The Murphy brothers should be commended for basing Norbit on a real-life true news video in which they witnessed a woman physically abusing her husband.
The Head of Security at a condo building where I lived in Florida told me that his wife beat him over the head with shoes one night. When he ran to the phone booth outside to call the police, the police did not take his complaint seriously.
During college, I worked a job at my county courthouse. My job was to interview victims of domestic violence. These victims would be in immediate danger & needed a judge to sign a protection order forbidding the domestic partner from further contacting the victim. I summarized my clients' experiences in writing. I also escorted my clients in front of the judge. Sometimes I would speak with the judge on my clients' behalf to make sure the judge accurately heard the client's story.
There are millions of Norbits around the world who do not have the courage to leave an abusive relationship. My college friend's girlfriend smashed his guitar over his head. Fortunately, that friend had a mother who pursuaded him to leave the abusive relationship.
There are people like Norbit who have no biological mother to care - so if Murphy's movie can not just entertain but maybe even inspire meek victims to have some audacity & guts, then the movie is a respectable piece of film history.
Murphy's story does not merely ridicule Rasputia for being obese. The more important point is that Rasputia is manipulative & deceitful (telling Norbit she's "with child"). Rasputia is also delusional about how important she is - bragging to Kate at the waterpark about how much arousal she inspires from Norbit.
When Norbit admits to Kate at the Italian restaurant near the end that he probably only married Rasputia because he needed a family that he never had, the screenwriters Murphy show that they have created a deep, complex character: Norbit is intelligent enough to know how much of a miserable tool he has allowed himself to become to the Lattamore family. (The moment when Rasputia's brother calls him a "bitch-ass", to which Norbit replies "Yes. I am a bitch-ass." can crack the audience up on multiple levels - that is if you have a healthy sense of humor.) But Norbit eventually musters the strength to overcome that misery.
That reminds me of Forrest Gump - when Forrest asks Robin Wright's character if Forrest Jr. is "smart" or is he like me.... that moment is heartbreaking to some because the audience realizes that Forrest is intelligent enough to know his shortcomings.
Besides all that - the movie Norbit is just hilarious. If you don't agree, that's too bad. Maybe you take yourself too seriously.
Aug 28 - 10:20 PM
Apr 21 - 11:12 PM