Norbit Brian Robbins

Norbit Brian Robbins
Norbit is no ordinary bad movie. The problem is not that it fails but that it succeeds… in employing a searing abjection that is practically unparalleled in the whole of American cinema. The film opens with the hero as a baby being picked up by an Asian man (Eddie Murphy, in virtually every role here) and called "ugly black kid; you can’t give these away” and goes downhill from there. The doomed orphan, Norbit (also Murphy), advances the story by marrying a morbidly obese monster woman (Murphy again) for lack of better prospects, as well as to allow the filmmakers to make appallingly cruel jokes at the woman’s expense. Okay, so fat suit jokes are obviously, the order of the day. But despite Murphy’s wearing some of the writing and producing hats almost all of the black characters are also grotesque stereotypes of the most disrespectful sort, leading one to wonder about the meddling of whiter hands or suspect the name above the title of self-hatred. Nobody gets away clean in this movie: not the star in his multiple roles, not Thandie Newton as Norbit’s long-lost childhood sweetheart, not Cuba Gooding in another sausage part, and not anybody who had a conscious impact on the film’s direction. It’s almost worth watching to see just how awful people can be and how far they’ll go to do it; the film is so mired in racism, sexism, misanthropy and self-hatred that your eyes bulge and your jaw hits the floor. Extras include the usual convivial "making of” doc, two semi-interesting featurettes on the make-up and stunts, a grindingly unfunny infomercial for Marlon Wayans’ "power tap” exercise, 14 deleted scenes and a photo gallery. (Paramount)