Number of discs: 1
Studio: Paramount Home Video
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
Run Time: 102 minutes
“Norbit” is a clunky, painfully unfunny film that relies on Eddie Murphy’s rubber face(s) and the audience’s lack of any sense of decorum in laughing at a somewhat lovable loser. I wish I could start this review with some kind words, to counter all the negative publicity this film has received. Unfortunately I can only continue to pile-on, calling this film out for being as atrocious as it is.
“Norbit” is the story of the titular protagonist, a deluded, dim-witted, uncoordinated idiot. His life is rough, as he is bossed around by everyone in his life, ultimately forced to marry a woman he met as a child, the gargantuan Rasputia (also Eddie Murphy). Norbit eventually reconnects with his childhood sweetheart Kate (Thandie Newton), coming into conflict with his domineering, cheating spouse. The comedy is born of infidelity, spousal abuse, fat jokes, and child and animal abuse, none of which are particularly funny.
About the only endearing and redeeming character in this entire mess is Norbit’s adopted father, Mr. Wong. While he is merely a racial stereotype, he hits all the right notes. Sadly his role limited to a supporting character.
On the plus side, the technology in the film is outstanding. Murphy is able to seamlessly play three characters on screen, interacting with each other. Sadly that is the highest praise I can offer this train-wreck. The story is about Kate buying an orphanage/Chinese restaurant and Rasputia’s brothers attempting to procure it to create a strip club. They team up with Kate’s fiancée to achieve their aims, a gold digger who marries wealthy women and leaves them. None of the plots make any particular sense
The problem with “Norbit” is not that it is offensive, though it is. Good comedy is often somewhat mean-spirited. The problem is that it is largely unfunny. The package I received from Dreamworks/Paramount contained the new versions of “Trading Places” and “Coming to America.” It reminded me that Eddie Murphy used to be funny. Even in stinkers like “Beverly Hills Cop 3” he had an affable charm that attracted the viewer. Of late his project selection has been based more on novelty than any sort of quality, which is a shame. “Norbit” should be avoided.
Recorded in 1.78:1, the Anamorphic video quality is very good, only occasionally appearing soft. Colors are warm and beautiful, lines are clean and blacks are solid.
The default Dolby Digital 5.1 track is mediocre at best. While dialogue is clean and the bass is deep, the music tracks are unimpressive and the rears are only occasionally used. Utterly unimpressive.
The single-disc set is well-stacked, beginning with a featurette that talks about the creation of the movie, from the inspiration for the story to casting and production of the “make-up movie.” Candid interviews come from all the principals, talking about their character motivations and working with a talented and diverse cast. “The Making of Norbit” runs about 21 minutes.
“Man of 1,000 Faces” is an EPK piece talking about how Rick Baker turned Eddie Murphy into his characters, and how Eddie brought them to life. “Power Tap” is an in-character infomercial for something created in the movie. “The Stunts of Norbit” go through the process of creating and implementing the physical gags in the film. These extras made me appreciate how complex the creation of the film was, but it doesn’t fix the inherent problems with the story.
The deleted scenes expand on Norbit’s backstory and history in both the orphanage and with Rasputia, fleshing out his role in her family’s company. The photo gallery and trailers section are exactly what you expect.
The disc opens with forced previews for the upcoming “Transformers” film, among others, and embedded within the set are more previews for Murphy classics like “Raw,” “Boomerang,” “Trading Places,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “48 Hours,” etc. You know, good movies.
I tried to give “Norbit” a fair shake. I did. But it is simply not a good film. The laughs are few and far between, and anyone with a semblance of a conscience will find this movie insulting.