“Norbit” is Eddy Murphy’s newest multi character movie and is about a fat wife, and a weakling husband. Directed by Brian Robbins, “Norbit” is one long, annoying fat joke sprinkled with physical humor and a dash of physical humor and all warmed by charming portrayals of domestic violence and animal cruelty.
Norbit, played by Eddy Murphy, is abandoned at the “Golden Wok” orphanage when he was a baby. Racist orphanage owner Mr. Wong, played by Eddy Murphy, raised Norbit his entire life. While in the orphanage he falls in love with Kate, Thandie Newton’s character. When Norbit is still in elementary school he meets Rasputia, who protects him from the bullies of the world. They grow up and they marry. The years of Rasputia’s physical and emotional abuse take their toll on Norbit’s confidence. When Kate returns with her fiancé Deion Hughes, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character, his world is thrown into a tizzy.
Is Eddy Murphy so bad to work with that he has to play all the characters in his movies? Or does the man have a latex fetish? Maybe he just loves the smell of makeup so much he wants has to live in pounds of it. It’s bad enough when one person writes, directs, and stars in a film. But writing the story, and starring as almost all of the characters? Come one now! Let some oversight in!
There is nothing charming or lovely about Rasputia. There could not be a more obnoxious human being on the planet. Rasputia’s wardrobe and cosmetics were brought to us by Lee Press on Nails. Her annoying talons of doom were always raised above her head as she attacks Norbit, as she shrills her attack scream. Why her mother didn’t drown her in a bathtub at birth is beyond me. It might be funny if she weren’t so abusive. Trust me, if you are stupid enough to see this movie after reading my review, you’ll never want to hear “How you doin’?” or “Hell to the no!” because Rasputia says them almost as often as she beats her husband.
One of the two reasons to watch is for the relationship between Norbit and Kate. Even though most of the scenes with both of them are painfully Saccharin, they are charming. Thandie Newton does try to shove out more sweet then occurs naturally and that’s more than a little eye roll inducing.
The other reason to watch is the two pimp restaurant owners Pope Sweet Jesus and Lord Have Mercy. Their wild silliness left me giggling. They are so stupid but at the end of the movie come through and save the day. They were the only characters who made me laugh.
I am still amazed that film distributors shovel this idiotic horse shit at us. I was extremely uncomfortable with the blatant racism, animal cruelty, fat jokes and attempted portrayal of domestic violence in “Norbit.”
I have serious problems with the relationship between Norbit and Rasputia. Rasputia is severely physically, emotionally and sexually abusive to Norbit. Nearly one quarter of the movie is Rasputia chasing, hitting, or some other act of abuse. Another quarter of the movie is Rasputia emotionally breaking Norbit down. She calls him names, berates him publicly, and tries to exact control over him in the way a classic abuser would. When Norbit wants to wait to have sex, she ignores him and does what she wants.
If the roles were reversed and Norbit were the batterer and Rasputia were the person maltreated, we wouldn’t find it humorous. Rasputia’s demonstrative behavior is no less domestic violence then if she were a man. I hate to get preachy but as long as we find things like domestic violence against men funny, and portrayals of men who are in abusive situations as “pitiful” we won’t liberate men from the bondages of abuse that women only recently have shed the shameful stigma from.
When domestic violence isn’t funny enough, they move on to animal cruelty. Nothing makes you roll around on the floor in stitches like purposefully maiming and paralyzing the neighbor’s dog. Ah ha ha. I could not start laughing. Nothing gets me going after a long day of domestic violence and animal cruelty like fat jokes. Yes, she’s fat, very fat. Does every single thing that that she does have to show us how fat she is? It’s boring.
The subject matter lends itself better to drama then it does comedy. I’m confident that Norbit would have been a good movie if it were a drama. What happens when you try to make subject matter that isn’t funny as wacky as a Saturday morning cartoon? “Norbit” happens. If you find poor writing and abuse funny, see Norbit, but I’m not letting you watch my kids.