The Red Right Hand

There's A Whole Other World Going On Inside Of Him

Brian Robbins

Eddie Murphy
Elizabeth Banks
Gabrielle Union
Scott Caan

In his latest flop, Eddie Murphy plays a vacuous moron, fuelled by tiny voices in his head telling him to do uncharacteristic and socially repugnant things; which explains a lot really. Well, granted, Meet Dave is a step-up from Norbit as it isn't offensive to the core but that doesn't make it a good movie. The script is flawed, the effects cheap, the acting dodgy, the comedy absent... the list goes on.

The premise of the film is simple enough but so very rehashed that every moment is so stupidly predictable. An exceptionally precocious child happens upon a small rock which is in fact an alien device designed to drain the Earth's oceans. Three months later a spaceship matching the dimensions of a human being crashes on Liberty Island, New York and begins its search for the device. Luckily Gina Morrison (Elizabeth Banks playing a rather ditzy single mother) hits the ship with her car and (as an inexplicable act of charity) invites him in for breakfast. It is at this point that he gains his eponymous name Dave Ming Chang. Dave sees a photo of the rock, blah blah, Dave and the kid meet up, blah blah, Dave helps them achieve happiness with his simple minded faux pas, blah blah blah!

At the same time, we have a parallel plot running within the ship itself. The tiny humanoids inside (the Nileans) come from a dying world and they require vast amounts of salt to power their home world (or something). After the 'device' went missing, they built a colossal (for them, at least) spaceship in the shape of its captain (remember when Neil Armstrong went to the moon in that large version of his face? No, me neither), rather than just doing the logical thing and launching another device. Inside Dave, all the corridors snake like cheap Star Trek sets, patrolled by the largely stereotypical crew. Exposed to human emotions and compassion (in New York?) the crew begin to adopt human traits - these being: dressing provocatively, homosexuality, homicidal insanity, lewd behaviour and enjoying rap. Yep, apparently that's all our species has to offer. What's worse is the childish manner in which this is executed, the butch security guard watches a brief segment of a stage production and 'turns' gay, the information officer, No. 3 [Union] observes a couple kissing in a park and falls in love with the captain, the second in command, No. 2 [Ed Helms] just gets angry and tries to undermine the captain (the only reason appears to be jealousy and whitey just wants to keep Eddie down) and the captain himself feels compassion and emotion and love and throws a baseball and lives the American dream and crap like that.

It's not offensive but it's incredibly dumb, which can be equally damaging. I spent a good two hours bitching about the continuity flaws and various mistakes but I really can't be bothered to list them now; sorry. Having said that, everything is unbelievable (despite suspended disbelief) and contradicts facts made not ten minutes prior - a good example would be Dave's ability to play video games extraordinary well and counter a mugger's attacks, yet he hasn't the hand-eye co-ordination to throw a ball or successfully put on a jumper. The whole thing is absurd.

This is clearly a Murphy/Robbins attempt to apologise for the filth that was Norbit but its ridiculous stereotypes and stomach-turning emotive bonding (sickeningly saccharine levels that even Disney wouldn't stoop to) do nothing more than prove that any hope for Murphy is long gone; the good work achieved in Dreamgirls and Varsity Blues is now completely null and void.

Release Date:
18th July 2008

The Scene To Look Out For:
Let's see, there was a scene in which the gay guy is outed when the information officer finds his quarters have been styled and decorated (no explanation of where the tiny furniture came from); there's a scene that takes place in the arse section, where a guy is employed to simply pull a lever to excrete and monitor 'gas leaks' (cue laughing from a test audience I came to despise); there's a point when Dave imitates Gina's neighbour, Mark [Marc Blucas] which isn't funny, then repeats the exact same joke thirty minutes later (still not funny, if you were wondering); Dave wins a competition in which he deepthroats 85 hot dogs and wins... a stuffed frog (what use would a man who has eaten that many pig schlongs have for a cheap stuffed toy, except to tear off the head and vomit into it?) and the final scene.
I intend to spoil stuff here:
Trapped in a net, the crew make their way to the escape pod, located in Dave's shoe - yes, cryptic and stupid, I know. As they fly away three things are apparent. First, they leave the ship intact for humans to explore, take apart and essentially confirm extra terrestrial life once and for all. Second, their home's last chance for survival has been selfishly squandered, so they are clearly returning with human emotions only to be hanged by their own people. Finally, the escape pod itself is essentially a small room full of park benches - yep, superior alien technology there.

Notable Characters:
Scott Caan plays a beat cop with a Mulder-esque attitude to the paranormal. The role is ridiculous, as is the casting of Scott bloody Caan, who looks and acts more like his father every day; it's only a matter of time before somebody ties him to a bed and shoves a typewriter in his lap. Anyway, there's one scene in particular in which Caan and his partner are sent (by their stereotypically grumpy sergeant) to investigate an explosion on Liberty Island. Within minutes Caan whips out his handy Junior Forensics Kit and starts making a bloody plaster cast of the impression in the mud. So, so, so dumb - I'm not even going to bother touching on the far fetched nature of that concept at all.

Highlighted Quote:
"Dave! You're a wiener eating champ!"

In A Few Words:
"Better than Norbit but still abysmally moronic"

Total Score:

Matthew Stogdon