Saturday, August 16, 2008

Meet Dave

I'm Dave Ming Chang!

One wonders if Eddie Murphy has lost it. I still remember his early days in action comedy back in Beverly Hills Cop, flashing his pearlies and making wisecracks, being the rather unorthodox cop that he probably would be toying with continuing the franchise to revive flagging fortunes, just like how Stallone went about adding to his Rocky and Rambo mythos. We all know the comedic streak in Eddie, and he does a fine job in voicing animated characters. But while he seemed to have exhausted playing multiple characters in The Nutty Professor and Norbit, he now has to play himself in, well, himself.

As a spaceship that is. In true Star Trek design and style, Eddie Murphy plays the Captain of a group of tiny humanoid aliens, who have built a spacecraft in the likeness of the Captain, and sent on a mission to extract all of Earth's salt to save their own back home, through an orb like object which is currently in the hands of a human child (Austyn Myers) he coincidentally befriends when his mom (Elizabeth Banks) hits him in vehicle accident. So begins an adventure on Earth where the unfeeling alien beings slowly find themselves affected by all that is life, from music to emotions like love and friendship.

Director Brian Robbins, who helmed Murphy's previous movie Norbit, somehow didn't deliver this movie to its potential given its scattered focus, unable to decide to go all out in becoming a comedy, or a drama with its cliched believe in yourself values and message. While Norbit was deliciously wicked in its political incorrectness and went totally riot with it, Meet Dave seemed to have tote the line of being boring without even trying. It didn't have any inkling of attempting to elicit genuine laughter, and all its potential had already been shown their hand in the trailer. Yes, the best bits were there, and left nothing new to the audience when sitting through the rest of the 90 minute movie.

Granted that there were some pretty nifty special effects in the film, those doesn't save Meet Dave from itself. It has an interesting premise, and had enough poking fun at conventional pop culture and icons such as Apple, but these come too few and far between, and seemed rather hurried to get everything loop closed so that they can move on and end the movie. With impatience like that build in the script to have everything wrapped in 48 hours, it's no wonder should the film had dropped plenty of its intended depth (if any) and chose to make itself fast and loose, and somehow along the way, unfunny. I'd sure like to Meet Dave properly, and not have to suffer a quick hi and then bye.

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