Norbit
PG-13
Entertainment: -1/2
Acceptability: -4

Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Eddie Griffin, Terry Crews, Clifton Powell, Katt Williams, Lester Rasta Speight and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Written by Eddie Murphy & Charles Murphy and Jay Scherick & David Ronn. Directed by Brian Robbins.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Norbit (Eddie Murphy) has never had it easy. As a baby, he was abandoned on the steps of a Chinese restaurant/orphanage and raised by Mr. Wong (Eddie Murphy). Things get worse when hes forced into marriage by the mean, zaftig Rasputia (also Eddie Murphy). Just when Norbit's hanging by his last thread, his childhood sweetheart, Kate (Thandie Newton), movies back to town. Will this nice guy finally finish first?

PREVIEW REVIEW: Now for those of you wondering if there will be any crudity in Eddie Murphy's latest, what universe have you been living in? Even the studio's synopsis calls it ribald comedy. In this era, that's another word for vulgar, crass and gross-out. Still, I have to admit, I was excited to see it. After all, it is Eddie Murphy. And nobody does fat-suit as good as Eddie Murphy. He's a funny man. No getting around that. And this past year he has proved to be an excellent actor. He may win the Best Supporting Oscar for his work in Dreamgirls. Known for his gregarious style, it may be difficult to think of Mr. Murphy in a dramatic sense. Like Woody Allen, Eddie causes audiences to laugh the moment we see him. We are anticipating something funny and sure enough, he delivers. But Eddie delivers so much more than gewgaws. In Dreamgirls, there's a depth to his performance, a depth that accentuates the tragedy his character undergoes.

But that's another film. This one doesn't quite aspire to award-worthiness. This film's only objective is to make you laugh. And the filmmakers do that the most assured way possible with crude sight gags and coarse dialog.

Right or wrong, I can enjoy a bit of raucous or rowdy humor such as found in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Perhaps that's because the small doses of earthiness found in that film are handled with style and imagination. Uncouth is something else. That I can't tolerate. But it is obvious by the overwhelming support of last year's crudity-fueled Borat that I am among the minority. While crudity may be acceptable for some, how can a movie be defended that not only profane's Gods name ten times, but does it even during scenes taking place in a church? If we arent supposed to profane His name, how do you think God feels about attending movies that do?

I realize that abstaining from entertainment that misuse God's name eliminates most of our choices, but what would Hollywood do if the 80% of Americans who profess to be believers in the Almighty would stop attending movies that showed irreverence to the Creator? Hmmm.

I'll still be rooting for Eddie Murphy during the Oscar telecast, but before you decide to attend Norbit, please read the content section.

Video alternative: Bill Cosby Himself. Bill's insights on marriage and children highlight this very funny standup routine. Perhaps the funniest bit is his take on a visit to the dentist. I rank this routine right up there with Abbott & Costello's Who's On First. I wish today's comedians would watch this film and pay attention. Mr. Cosby proves that observations on life can be related without bombarding the senses with obscenity and crudity.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Paramount

Summary
Crude Language: While there are some very funny moments, most of the humor is mined from shock value, the kind of visuals and dialog that cause us to laugh because we cant believe we just saw or heard that.
Obscene Language: Obscene language abounds. Mainly we hear minor expletives such as damn and hell and ass, words that no longer raise an eyebrow among most filmgoers; the s-word is also frequently uttered; other inappropriate language is used throughout. The word bitch is used numerous times.
Profanity: Gods name followed by a curse is heard around 10 times, including from our hero; Jesus name is also featured in a disrespectful manner, once by an actor playing a minister.
Violence: A car crash; Norbit is bullied by his obese wife and her three brothers; much of the violent action is contained in slapstick visuals; Rasputia gets harpooned in the backside; Rasputia deliberately runs over a dog the dog is not killed, but loses a leg; one scene was disturbing as Rasputia threatens Kates face by demonstrating what it would do as she applies the acid to a Mr. Potato Head.
Sexual Intercourse: No actual sexual activity, but there is a great deal of sexual innuendo. Two supporting characters are pimps. Enthralled by the pimps, two women want to become their hookers.
Nudity: We see the backside of a man getting out of bed.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: There is a great deal of comic dialog referring to the sex act and bodily functions, including flatulence jokes; one scene even has a man wiping himself.
Drug Abuse: Social drinking.
Other: Despite the fact that jillions of Americans suffer with weight problems, comedians have no hesitancy when it comes to making a joke that their expense.
Running Time: 102 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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