Norbit | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The slightly dim but sweet Norbit (Eddie Murphy) gets trapped in a bad marriage to Rasputia (also Murphy), while still pining for his childhood sweetheart (Thandie Newton). That storyline resolves as expected. The gist of Brian Robbins' comedy, co-written by Murphy, is simply this: Grossly overweight black women in inappropriate clothing exist for our hilarity, and deserve to be repeatedly humiliated. Murphy gives us loopholes for laughing: Rasputia is an extreme caricature of a two-ton harpie, and we know it's really him beneath the fat suit. Yet nothing excuses the meanness of the shtick. Comedy relies on cruelty, but this is of the nyah-nyah schoolyard variety with nothing provocative to redeem it. (Besides half of Norbit's fat-lady jokes were in Big Momma I and II.) When Murphy's on, he's a joy -- we were all just basking in his comeback scene-stealing in Dreamgirls -- but when he tanks, as he does here, it's just painful to watch. (AH)

Comments (0)

Add a comment