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Eddie Murphy in rubber lard is anything but a dreamgirl.

Odd couple: Murphy's latest movie ain't exactly Oscar bait.
  • Odd couple: Murphy's latest movie ain't exactly Oscar bait.

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. (Murphy's third role is that of Mr. Wong, the tactless owner of a combination orphanage and Chinese restaurant.)

Bigger than Martin Lawrence's Big Momma, the violent, bitchy, absurdly abrasive Rasputia floods the bathtub, breaks the bed, empties the kiddie pool at a water park, literally squeezes into a purple MG, et cetera. In a movie where everything has its extreme opposite, Norbit's childhood sweetie and true love is Kate (Thandie Newton), a 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, Cadillac license-plate jokes (e.g., "SELLNHOS"), and Baptist church jokes. It's an astonishingly crass and vulgar film: never more than almost funny or less than disturbing.

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More by Rob Nelson

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