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Brian Robbins
Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Writing Credits:
Eddie Murphy, Charles Murphy, Jay Scherick, David Ronn Synopsis:
A mild-mannered guy, who is married to a monstrous woman, meets the woman of his dreams, and schemes to find a way to be with her.

Box Office:
$60 million.
Opening Weekend:
$34,195,434 on 3136 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 6/5/2007

• “The Making of Norbit” Featurette
• “Man of A Thousand Faces” Featurette
• “Power Tap” Featurette
• “The Stunts of Norbit” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Photo Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Norbit [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 13, 2017)

With 2007’s Norbit, Eddie Murphy won the battle but lost the war. On the surface, the movie became a hit, as it took in almost $100 million in the US.

However, many believe that the much-maligned film scuttled Murphy’s Oscar hopes. He earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Dreamgirls and looked likely to win – until Norbit emerged during the voting period. The crude, crass Norbit clearly contrasted with what voters think an Oscar winner should do, and Alan Arkin’s work in Little Miss Sunshine won the trophy instead.

We’ll never know for certain if Norbit actually killed Murphy’s Oscar chances, but I do know this: the movie is astonishingly unfunny. We meet the title character as a baby when he gets abandoned at the door of the Golden Wonton Orphanage. Mr. Wong (Murphy) takes in the infant and raises him among the other kids.

As a kid, Norbit (Khamani Griffin) becomes best pals with a little girl named Kate (China Anderson). Unfortunately for him, Kate gets adopted and leaves him alone.

When he hits nine (Austin Reid), a new girl comes to town: plus-sized Rasputia (Lindsey Sims-Lewis). She makes him her girlfriend – whether he likes it or not – and bullies everyone she sees.

At least Norbit starts to feel like part of a family as he hangs out with Rasputia and the older brothers who raise her. Their relationship continues and we meet both the adult Norbit (Murphy) and Rasputia (Murphy). He works as a bookkeeper for her brothers’ construction business and they eventually marry.

A few events conspire to affect Norbit’s life. First, Rasputia cheats on him with her “power tap” instructor Buster (Marlon Wayans). In addition, Kate (Thandie Newton) comes back to town and plans to take over the orphanage.

With visions of renewed love in his life, a spark returns to Norbit’s step – until he goes to lunch with Kate and meets her boyfriend Deion (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). The movie follows complications regarding the orphanage property as well as Norbit’s attempts to rekindle his romance with Kate and to ditch Rasputia.

Cabin fever makes a man do funny things. Back before Norbit hit the screens in February 2007, I thought it looked like it could be funny. After all, when Eddie Murphy plays multiple characters in a movie, he often does well. I loved Bowfinger, and the second Nutty Professor flick was also pretty funny.

When Norbit earned scathing reviews, though, I decided to stay away – at least until the snow fell. And fell. And fell some more.

After a few days stuck in my house, I felt desperate to get out and do something, so a matinee appealed to me. I’d seen most of the efforts then on the screens, so the pickings were slim. The much-praised Pan’s Labyrinth sounded like the most appropriate choice, but I just wasn’t in the mood for something like that, so Norbit got the nod!

Within five minutes, I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t just fail to laugh – I actually winced at most of what I saw.

I made it through about 25 minutes of Norbit before I bailed. I ditched that screen and sneaked into the one that ran Pan’s Labyrinth instead.

Since I saw less than half of it, I entertained the notion that I misjudged Norbit. Maybe it got better – or at least proved to be less horrible – as it went.

And maybe I’ll grow a second head and charge neighborhood kids two bits to stare at the freak. During the flick’s first scene, it immediately reminds me of 1990’s atrocious Problem Child. Another ugly, mean-spirited “comedy”, it tried to make us laugh at gags about an unwanted baby.

While I’m certainly not a sensitive soul, I just don’t get what’s funny about an infant who gets thrown out of a moving car. Matters don’t much improve from there, as Norbit spans the range from “really despicable” to merely “pretty tasteless”.

Much has been made of all the cruel fat jokes aimed at Rasputia, but the filmmakers likely would excuse these for two reasons. First, she’s a completely horrible person, so she deserves to be the butt of nasty comments. Second, despite her overwhelming obesity, she maintains an exceedingly positive self-image and thinks of herself as a super-babe.

Those attempts to redeem the cruelty shouldn’t be accepted, especially given the preponderance of unpleasant material found elsewhere in Norbit. This is a film that makes out pimps to be paragons of the community and tells us that all women secretly want to be prostitutes. It depicts pretty much every cultural group as racist and hateful and places plenty of kids in dangerous situations for laughs.

The casual racism, sexism and general meanness on display here astounds me. All that, and not a single laugh along the way!

If this was another effort from the Wayans brothers ala White Chicks or Scary Movie, the absence of humor wouldn’t surprise me so much. However, Murphy possesses real talent and can do so much better than this. What in the world was he thinking?

All I can believe is that Murphy wasn’t thinking when he conjured up Norbit. Nasty, ugly and consistently unpleasant, this is a tremendously bad movie.

Norbit boasts approximately five minutes of story expanded to 102 minutes with a long, painful series of unfunny comedic bits. This may well be Murphy’s worst movie, and that’s saying something.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Norbit appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the most part, this was a pretty good transfer, though not without concerns.

Overall delineation seemed fine. At times, the movie appeared slightly gauzy, but the image usually came across with good delineation. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and both edge haloes and print flaws seemed absent.

Colors tended to favor a rather golden tint. Within those constraints, the hues seemed solid. The movie showed nice color reproduction and I encountered no problems with the tones. Blacks were deep and dense, and shadows looked clear and smooth. Only the mild issues with sharpness left this image as a “B”.

Given the comedic roots of Norbit, I expected little from its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundfield. Indeed, this was a fairly restricted soundfield that fell in line with films of this genre. The audio stayed largely focused on the front channels.

Some of the Rasputia stunts added life to the track, as they opened up the spectrum. Those elements weren’t a major factor, though, and the soundscape remained simple. Music showed good stereo imaging, at least, and the general ambience was fine.

Audio quality was solid. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and effects were clean and clear. Good low-end popped up during the Rasputia bits, as her weight pounded the bass. Music seemed lively and full as well. This never became an impressive track, but it was worth a “B-”.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio appeared identical – literally, as the Blu-ray lacked a lossless option and offered the same DD 5.1 track from the DVD.

Even though both discs gave us the same audio, I lowered my grade from a “B” on DVD to a “B-“ on Blu-ray. That reflected the absence of lossless material – I think Blu-rays that go with lossy soundtracks should be “dinged” for this.

Visuals demonstrated the standard improvements that come with Blu-rays. This version showed stronger definition and smoothness. Even with some softness, the Blu-ray bettered the DVD.

The Blu-ray reproduces the DVD’s extras, and we start with The Making of Norbit. This 21-minute, 33-second program mixes movie clips, behind the scenes bits, and interviews. We hear from director Brian Robbins, screenwriter/producer/actor Eddie Murphy, screenwriter Charles Murphy, producer John Davis, costume designer Molly Maginnis, visual effects producer Les Hunter, special effects makeup designer Rick Baker, body double Lauren Miller, and actors Terry Crews, Clifton Powell, Thandie Newton, Michael Colyar, Anthony Russell, Lester “Rasta” Speight, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams, and Marlon Wayans.

“Making” looks at the project’s origins, casting, characters and performances, costumes, storyboarding and Robbins’ work on the flick, visual effects and makeup, and improvisation. Without question, the best parts of the show document the makeup and visual effects.

Unfortunately, those are brief, and the rest of “Making” tends to feel fluffy and promotional. We learn a little about the movie’s creation but not enough to make this a particularly strong featurette.

Next comes the four-minute, four-second Man of A Thousand Faces. It features Baker, Crews, Gooding, Griffin, Speight, Davis, Murphy, and Robbins. As expected, this one looks at the makeup that changed Murphy into the movie’s different characters.

Like “Making”, it’s way too short and superficial. It mainly just praises Murphy and Baker, so don’t expect to learn much from it.

With Power Tap, we get a four-minute, 50-second clip that acts as an “informercial”. It “advertises” the exercise technique highlighted in the movie. It’s just as funny as the material in the flick - that’s not a compliment.

The Stunts of Norbit fills 11 minutes, 51 seconds with comments from Robbins, Davis, stunt coordinator Andy Gill, stunt double Aaron Toney, stunt/body double Virgil E. Carter, and actor Pat Crawford Brown. The featurette looks at… uh, the stunts of Norbit.

Unlike the prior programs, though, it does so in a satisfying manner. We get lots of great raw footage and learn quite a lot about the challenges in the movie’s physical comedy. This becomes a solid little piece.

14 Deleted Scenes last a total of eight minutes, 29 seconds. Given the brevity of most of those segments, perhaps they should be called “Deleted Trims”. Not a single one presents anything substantial.

The most interesting clip – and I use that term loosely – comes from “Proposal”, which shows how Norbit and Rasputia got engaged. Overall, the snippets remain forgettable.

In addition to the movie’s trailer, we find a Photo Gallery. It includes 58 shots that mix images from the set and from the movie. It’s a mediocre collection.

A few minutes into Norbit and you’ll look back longingly on Pluto Nash. A film so terrible it makes The Haunted Mansion look inspired, Norbit serves to offend and degrade but not to entertain. The Blu-ray presents fairly good picture and audio along with average extras. If you want some laughs, stay far away from the abysmal Norbit, a contender for the crown as 2007’s worst film.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of NORBIT

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