ZERO STARS/**** Image B Sound A- Extras B-
starring Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
screenplay by Eddie Murphy & Charles Murphy and Jay Scherick & David Ronn
directed by Brian Robbins
by Walter Chaw I looked up George Carlin's seven dirty words that you can't say on television and, sure enough, there was the outline for the gags, narrative, reason for being, you name it, of Eddie Murphy's Norbit: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Marvin the Martian-talking geek pastiche Norbit (Murphy) is an orphan abandoned on the doorstep of Golden Wonton Restaurant and Orphanage by unkind kindly Asian caricature Mr. Wong (Murphy again), who, in a moment that doesn't feel like a joke but definitely feels full of rage, confesses that he traded his two-year-old daughter for a yak (in another, he reveals his dream to be a whaler, making him more Japanese than Chinese, but hey, a slant's a slant). Not connected to anything like atonement or social/racial satire, Mr. Wong hovers there in the background as occasional wise commentary while Norbit loses his childhood sweetheart Kate (Thandie Newton) and marries the monstrous Rasputia (yes, Murphy). Norbit loathes fat people, Asians, women (note the two girls who really, really want to get turned out by Eddie Griffin's pimp archetype), and black people most of all. I guess this is meant to soften the misanthropy, except it doesn't really matter that the perpetrators of the screenplay are Murphy and his out-of-work brother Charlie--catching this coattail now after Dave Chappelle rolled up his--if the director is a white guy.