Cuba Gooding Jr.
In this following-up to last year’s Dreamgirls where he singed, danced, and donned a wig to steal undeserved critical praise (as a sidenote: Norbit has seen the blame for his losing the Best Supporting Actor Oscar), Murphy resurrects the multiple-role gimmick he has beaten like the proverbial dead horse. And you know what? Norbit sort of has the stench of one, too.
It seems Murphy set out to create three of the most irritating characters of 21st-century cinema, and to make the matter so much worse, he plays them all. First is the title character Norbit, a nerd to the nth degree that is handled like he’s mentally handicapped. His wife, Rasputia (also Murphy), is the elephant’s butt of ridicule, all at the expense of her seismic weight. But it’s okay to laugh (if we can force it) because it’s important to remember it’s just the ex-Axel Foley in a fat suit. Finally, Murphy is caked in prosthetics to portray Mr. Wong, the Asian owner of an orphanage who is of course reduced to an offensive stereotype.
Murphy uses these characters and jokes as rubberbands, stretching them out as far as they’ll go until they eventually snap right in our faces. When Rasputia’s seat is too close to the steering wheel (it’s actually as far back as it can go), she remarks her breasts can honk the horn, and then proceeds to demonstrate until it’s no longer funny, if it ever was. In an earlier scene, Rasputia, ever the role-playing sex monster and dressed in chains, runs into the room to jump on Officer Norbit, breaking the bed. Just in case we didn’t laugh the first go-round, it’s set up another three times. And don’t even get me started on the constant humorless usage of Rasputia’s anthem, the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha”, which contains the lyrics, “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”
But we’ve come to expect this from former talent Murphy, who hasn’t even tried to make us laugh since the original Shrek. His movies have become too gimmicky, and we can only be relieved that Norbit isn’t a kid’s movie or stemmed from a Disney attraction.
If anything, Norbit does answer the age-old question, How many fat jokes can you fit into a 102-minute movie? The answer: about as many pounds as Rasputia can squeeze into her spandex. How YOU doin’?!
Man of 1,000 Faces (4:07): Ah, so no one knew that Mr. Wong was Murphy when he came on set? Hilarious!
Power Tap (4:50) is a faux-infomercial advertising the puny guy (Marlon Wayans) who taught Rasputia how to “shake it.”
The Stunts of Norbit (11:52): The STUNTS?! Oh, they’ll just put anything on this disc, won’t they?
Deleted Scenes (8:12): There are a grand total of 14 here whose combined time clocks in at just over 8 minutes, so don’t expect anything too worthwhile.
And rounding out this insanely fun DVD is a Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailer, and Previews.