Eddie Murphy is one of those actors that has always perplexed me. Does he want to be taken as a serious actor (Dreamgirls would make it seem so) or does he want to put out mindless popular trash like Norbit? Well, with Meet Dave, I guess he’s answered my question — trash is his cash.
And this film is once again about feeding Murphy’s gargantuan ego. Get this, he plays a Captain Kirk like captain of a ship that is – drum roll, please – Eddie Murphy! That’s right Eddie Murphy is the ship. The movie takes place on two fronts: inside the ship where a miniature Murphy, Gabrielle Union, Ed Helms, Pat Kilbane and others interact with each other; and outside the ship where Murphy interacts with a divorcee named Gina (Elizabeth Banks) and her son Josh (Austyn Myers). The reason, you may ask, to have a spaceship resemble a man is so the tiny aliens can move about Manhattan unhindered while setting out to do their mission of recovering and redeploying an orb that will drain our oceans and give their race the precious salt within (it’s desperately needed for their survival).
So pretty much as you should have inferred, Meet Dave is two bad movies rolled into one. Within the ship portion, Eddie presents himself as a prim and proper leader, concerned more with career than with personal relationships. As he spends more time on earth determined to learn more about our society, he begins to lose control of the crew (the atmosphere apparently causes them to behave erratically) — No. 3 (Union) lets her captain know she has a deep-rooted crush on him; No. 4 (Kilbane) decides he’s a fabulous faggot, and others take a liking to the finer things in life that apparently they keep repressed. A coup led by No. 2 (Helms) causes more strife yet forces Murphy’s character to realize he needs people in his life and blah, blah, blah. Sentimental shit was never Murphy’s gig anyhow.
On the second front Meet Dave is a basic movie about how a displaced person would react in a utterly foreign environment (the foreigner being Dave, the ship). When asked to help clear the table, Dave wipes everything to the floor; when given ketchup, he drinks it. Hell, even the most basic of things — walking, smiling, dancing — are done to the utmost absurd extreme. Once in a while his actions caused me to crack a smile but mostly the only reason I smiled at all was because I enjoy looking at Elizabeth Banks immensely. Ever since her stint on Scrubs, she’s wormed a hole into my consciousness and has been firmly rooted there ever since. Even now I hear her infectious laugh, whilst I wonder what her reasons could have been for wanting to star in this.
So there you have it, another unfunny movie starring Eddie Murphy in multiple roles. We get it Mr. Murphy, you’re talented but it isn’t novel or funny anymore. At some point, someone will have to tell you, you can no longer write blank checks to yourself whenever you get a “funny” idea in your head. Hopefully after Meet Dave bombs, that talk will happen sooner rather than later. Sorry Edward.