Two Nutty Professor movies and Eddie Murphy still hasn’t gotten the split- personality shtick out of his system. Original nut Jerry Lewis would say that comedy is at least half rage, and Norbit, wherein Murphy plays a psychotic, gargantuan wife and the meek, battered husband of the title, is one mean movie. Bigger than Martin Lawrence’s Big Momma, the violent, bitchy, absurdly abrasive Rasputia floods the bathtub, breaks the marital bed, empties the kiddie pool, etc. In a movie where everything has its extreme opposite, Norbit’s childhood sweetie and true love is Kate (Thandie Newton), an upsettingly thin doll of a woman who may be powerless to prevent her and Norbit’s beloved orphanage from being turned by her scheming fiancé (Cuba Gooding Jr.) into a “titty bar” called Nipplopolis. (It’s PG-13! Bring the kids!) Aside from the bevy of fat jokes, there are fart jokes, talking-dog jokes, and Baptist church jokes. It’s an astonishingly crass and vulgar film: crudely directed on a cut-rate budget by Brian Robbins, never more than almost funny or less than disturbing.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 6, 2007