Meet Dave (2008) Brian Robbins

Production Budget: $60 million

Gross: about $13 million

A group of miniature aliens come to Earth piloting a robot in human form. The aliens are looking for some orb that is the key to saving their planet. The robot, trying to blend in as Dave, has to find it using the help of a small child. However things get complicated when they become involved in the lives of the child and her mother Gina (Elizabeth Banks).

Okay, I got a pitch for you guys. Eddie Murphy walks around the streets of New York with buggy eyes and a child molester smile and creeps out random people for 90 minutes.

-I love it! Greenlight that son of a bitch! How much money you need? $40 million? Hell give him $60!

Alright, I think I got most of it out of my system. Ehhhh actually I think I have a few more random bits of frustration. 1. Why Bill Corbett (who wrote this movie)!? Did you want to make your own movie to riff on? 2. Really Ed Helms, you can do so much better than this crap. 3. Really Elizabeth Banks, you can do so much better than Meet Dave and Kevin Smith. SO MUCH BETTER.

Alright, alright, I’ll get to the review. I really don’t see much of a need to talk about the story of this movie since even the writers don’t really give a crap. And I’m not saying that to be particularly cruel, but the fact of the matter is the plot is the loosest of excuses to have Eddie do what he does.

So let’s talk about the meat of the movie which is the humor. It sucks. The majority of the movie is (as I indicated before) Eddie acting all bug eyed and trying to act as creepy as possible to see how the actors respond to him. Scenes are stretched beyond Family Guy levels of joke death as the camera just keeps rolling and the actor desperately struggle to fill dead air. I’m sorry if I keep harping on this but this is pretty much it. This is almost the whole movie. The script could look like this:

Eddie walks into (location): School/Police Station/Old Navy/Nightclub

*start scene*

Eddie walks in and looks creepy

Actor initiates dialog to find out why Eddie Murphy looks like a creepy bastard.

Eddie remains silent and creepy/will mimic the actor in an annoying game of mirror mirror.

Actor defies all reason and continues to talk to the creepy man instead of calling police.

Eddie continues to try to milk the joke.

I die a little inside.

*end scene*

There are some attempts to show just how oh so crazy these silly humans and their culture are. Now, I’m not saying this couldn’t be done well (maybe in a dry British comedy), but not with Eddie Murphy. Sorry, I don’t equate him with sharp social satire. I love Bill Corbett’s work on Rifftrax and MST3K, but actually writing jokes for this movie he is bad. Many of the scripted jokes are your most predictable set ups for lame punchlines. For example, the gruff security officer somehow sees A Chorus Line which makes him gay. Not just gay, but Village People gay with a limp wrist and stereotype voice. You see, because he was so macho you wouldn’t expect that he…*sigh* Where’s the booze? Now I guess I can make the concession that this is relatively harmless humor geared toward a kid audience and not offensive crap like Norbit. However, saying something is simply crap and not offensive crap isn’t giving it high praise.

Really, this movie is like a two-parter pilot for like a really crappy CBS comedy reboot of Mork and Mindy or something. Everything about this feels like it would be right at home playing back to back with the Geico caveman tv show. I say back to back shows because the final act is when we get a 30 minute, painfully boring action climax where the Captain (Murphy) has to get back to his ship to take it back from the mutinous #2 (Ed Helms). There really aren’t many jokes; we just see pedo-Murphy blowing things up for 30 minutes. This is probably where the majority of the budget went and, like Evan Almighty, the special effects are completely unnecessary. Did this movie NEED to be $60 million dollars? Did any of that money (and the subsequent effects shots) add anything to the humor? The answer is no.

All these bad elements really make me feel bad for the one bright spot of the movie which is Elizabeth Banks. She is the only really good thing about this movie and I will give her all the credit in the world for bringing energy and life to a dull, lifeless comedy.

This isn’t the worst Eddie Murphy movie but this is pretty bad. Murphy hasn’t been funny to me in a long time and when you plug him into basically a big budget sitcom it doesn’t help. The jokes are poorly written and executed, the acting (with the exception of Banks) is hammy and bad, and the whole production feels amateurish. I really wish Murphy would retire (or at least take a long break) from comedy.

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