Somebody take Eddie Murphy’s latex away

Do I even need to explain why I’m linking to this?   For the sake of form, I guess I’ll try.

Norbit is a an Eddie Murphy movie.   Still not ’nuff said?   Oh, okay.

The female lead character is Murphy made up as a very obese woman described as “monstrous” on IMDB.   Our hapless lead guy – also played by Murphy – is engaged to her when he meets a gorgeous slim woman he’d rather be with.   I didn’t investigate the plot any further than that.   Pretending to be overweight – and therefore, of course, horrible nasty women – has become Murphy’s last desperate schtick in the past few years.   Playing old and therefore grotesque women is another one.

I’d suggest Murphy go fuck himself, but I guess that’s what happens in the movie.

Comments

  1. scarlett says

    The sad thing is, I thought he was brilliant in Dreamgirls, playing a musician who’s love for exess kills him. I think if he stopped screwing around in really lame roles, he could gain a lot of cred.

  2. MaggieCat says

    I could swear I heard that he said he wasn’t going to do any more of these makeup heavy movies, because people keep saying it might hurt his Oscar chances for Dreamgirls, but I can’t remember where I heard it.

    Yeah, offensive and nauseating, but between Murphy and Martin Lawrence, I pretty much block these movies out by now.

  3. Ezra says

    Actually He doesn’t love her because she is skinny. They were both orphans as kids and she moved. But he was in love with her
    wayy before he met his womalny self. Do your Reaserch before you make a article that sounds very offensive to people not likeng the fatter people

  4. MaggieCat says

    What I find inexplicable is that he used to do good comedies as well. I absolutely adore Coming to America and Trading Places, and I liked Bowfinger for the most part, but I just do not get this phenomenon of lackluster cookie-cutter movies that hang entirely on offensive prosthetics. (Key word there being ‘offensive’ since CtA involved a lot of makeup as well, since two actors played about a dozen characters.)

  5. says

    Pretending to be overweight – and therefore, of course, horrible nasty women – has become Murphy’s last desperate schtick in the past few years. Playing old and therefore grotesque women is another one.

    And old and overweight men, too.

  6. Jennifer Kesler says

    Actually He doesn’t love her because she is skinny. They were both orphans as kids and she moved. But he was in love with her
    wayy before he met his womalny self. Do your Reaserch before you make a article that sounds very offensive to people not likeng the fatter people

    This movie uses the stereotype that an overweight woman is automatically a “mistake” – that’s even outlined by the ads for the movie.

  7. says

    Do your Reaserch before you make a article that sounds very offensive to people not likeng the fatter people

    Okay, someone please tell me I’m reading it wrong and that quote doesn’t accuse BetaCandy of hurting the poor fat-phobic bigots’ feelings.

  8. says

    That was my read on it, too, tekanji.

    < sarcasm > ZOMG! Suggesting that it’s not ok to make “fat” read as shorthand for “mistake” and “monstrous”? SO. OFFENSIVE. < /sarcasm >

  9. Jennifer Kesler says

    That’s how I read it, too. I also suspected it might be written by someone who’s really not old enough to fully comprehend this site, so I was trying to be gentle.

  10. says

    I’m always getting my hopes up that people will accept everyone else — fat people included — and when people actually flock to see a stereotypical movie like Norbit, I find it hard to keep my optimism.

    I wish Mr. Murphy would explore more dramatic movies, which I think he actually has some skill at — the slapstick comedy is really grating on my nerves. What a great way to prove to people that black people can do more on screen that look stupid, but I digress…

    I’m so glad I stumbled across this site. Keep it coming! :)

  11. says

    Maybe I’ll have to watch the movie, but I didn’t get the impression that the ample woman portrayed by Mister Murphy(boo hiss on behalf of Scary Spice, btw) was that great of a person to begin with. Large or small, she didn’t seem terribly pleasant.

    Not to undermine the point of this post, mind. I still completely agree. My first take on the movie was of two thoughts. Firstly “bloody hell, he’s making another fatsuit movie,” and secondly “Oh look, all of the characters are thoroughly unlikeable AGAIN.” I’ve hated this type of movie since he first did it all the way back in the Nutty Professor.

  12. Jennifer Kesler says

    Maybe I’ll have to watch the movie, but I didn’t get the impression that the ample woman portrayed by Mister Murphy(boo hiss on behalf of Scary Spice, btw) was that great of a person to begin with. Large or small, she didn’t seem terribly pleasant.

    But that’s my point. Of course she’s unpleasant – she’s overweight! And that’s the stereotype I keep seeing in films – slim people are nice and deserving, and overweight people are nasty and deserve to lose.

  13. Ezra says

    Ok, I am sorry I did not make myself clear in the earlier comment, I was in a rush. I mean to say that Mr. Murphy’s movie is offensive, but in the actual film is not as much as the ads make it out to be.

    Yes- There are lots of fat jokes througout the movie, almost all of which are seen throughout the commercials. It is defienltly not the High point of either Eddie or Charlie Murhphys careers, but hopefully their next movie will be better and not rely on such a week basis.

    Secondly- the reason (second to the fat jokes) that Rasputia is refered to as monsterous is because she is one of the meanest people I have ever seen in a movie, and little of that has to do with the fact that she is overweight.

    In The Nutty Professor and The Klumps, Eddie managed to make characters in a family that we could all relate to, even though they were completly over the top. Norbit is also Over the top, but in such a way that nobody could relate to it- ever. The movie is not very good, and everything is blown out of proportion rediculosly. I am not making that an excuse for the bad humor, but it should be taken more lightly than it would be for a movie of a more serious nature.

    Mr. Murphy is making an overdue comeback and after dreamgirls, it is too bad the next film had to be so lesser. We all know that Eddie will always have the same sense of humor he always has had, and no matter how out of place this may sound, You know the brand, and if you don’t like it, don’t buy the product. i.e. Don’t see the movie.

    * also- I am fully old enough to comprehend this website. Thanks not for your assumption.

  14. sbg says

    Mr. Murphy is making an overdue comeback and after dreamgirls, it is too bad the next film had to be so lesser. We all know that Eddie will always have the same sense of humor he always has had, and no matter how out of place this may sound, You know the brand, and if you don’t like it, don’t buy the product. i.e. Don’t see the movie.

    * also- I am fully old enough to comprehend this website. Thanks not for your assumption.

    Apparently you haven’t read and understood the guidelines of this blog, though. We’re not here to be told what we’re critiquing shouldn’t be critiqued. Anything is fair game. Maybe you should read them .

    Also, given the manner in which your first comment was written, it was perhaps wrong (if understandable) to jump to the conclusion you’re young.

    Regardless of the genre or silliness of a film, it’s still giving out a very bad message. Discounting the underlying message in a film of lesser quality (who determines quality anyway, right?) is precisely what we shouldn’t do, in my opinion.

  15. Ezra says

    I did not mean to imply that you should not critique it, just that you should not see it if you dont want to. You are free to critique whatever you want, i was just countering it, sorry if i was again misunderstood.

    I do agree with you in some senses, sorry if my messages don’t come across as i mean them too. Please though, consider some of the other points mentioned in my previous post.

  16. Jennifer Kesler says

    Please though, consider some of the other points mentioned in my previous post.

    I’m not ignoring your points, but they don’t negate the stereotyping, though. On this site, we critique a LOT of movies and shows that are quite good in some ways, but which still use stereotypes or bad gender representation. If you don’t want to read the critiques, don’t. :)

    The same story could have been told with two women of similar weights, and maybe then it would have been great.

    Secondly- the reason (second to the fat jokes) that Rasputia is refered to as monsterous is because she is one of the meanest people I have ever seen in a movie, and little of that has to do with the fact that she is overweight.

    It has everything to do with her weight, in the sense that there’s a powerful stereotype in Hollywood that overweight people have nasty personalities. She could have been a slim woman who was unpleasant. And of course, the two women’s weights could have been reversed, but that would never happen because it doesn’t fit the stereotype.

    Mr. Murphy is making an overdue comeback and after dreamgirls, it is too bad the next film had to be so lesser. We all know that Eddie will always have the same sense of humor he always has had, and no matter how out of place this may sound, You know the brand, and if you don’t like it, don’t buy the product. i.e. Don’t see the movie.

    As SBG said, this sort of comment is against our guidelines. This is a film criticism site. If you don’t want to read the criticism, don’t read our site. ;)

    * also- I am fully old enough to comprehend this website. Thanks not for your assumption.

    You don’t comprehend the point of the site, and your first comment accused me of something I didn’t say. What would you prefer I assume?

    Let’s just hope that next summer we don’t have Eddie Murphy team up with Martin Lawrence for the cross-over “The Klumps Eat at Big Momma’s House.”

    *palmface* Nooooooooo!!!!! :D

  17. Jennifer Kesler says

    There’s some very good stuff there which is worth linking to, because they cover the issue of race, which I didn’t attempt to speak on:

    From Seeing Black:

    Perhaps the sensible thing is to ignore “Norbit,”…. But as a Hollywood production with a big promotion budget, “Norbit” is hard to ignore.

    Our forced exposure to this film and its ideas does not begin if and when we decide to see it. Rather, the story of Norbit begins at the mall, inside our cars, on the bus or as we walk down the street….

    ….This is what “Norbit” is about— the capture and captivity of a gentle and good-hearted Black man named Norbit by a morbidly obese, mean and nasty Black woman named Rasputia….

    ….Norbit is tasteless and filled with tired racial and woman-hating humor. The fact that Rasputia is fat is not so much the joke as the fact that she is a fat (and Black) woman. (emphasis by Betacandy) She is made into a monster and a beast—referred to as “a guerilla” and referenced by a piece of poultry fashioned to look like a naked Black butt (like the one hinted at in the movie poster). Her depiction is of course in contrast to the saint-like rendering of Norbit’s childhood sweetheart, played by bi-racial, light-skinned actress Thandie Newton.

    ….Murphy’s rotund character Sherman Klump in both “The Nutty Professor and “The Klumps” was notable for his kindness and for the fact that, despite his size, he was loved by two hotties, played by Janet Jackson and Jada Pinkett.

    The fat Black woman or even the average-sized Black woman’s body, has become such a standard joke in recent movies, TV shows and commercials that we are asked by the White filmmakers of “Norbit,” as well as the film’s apologists, to accept it. This exploitation has been going on for a long time. Even Hattie McDaniel, the first Black actress to win an Academy Award, in 1939 for “Gone with the Wind, was forbidden by her mammy-centric studio contract to lose weight. Jennifer Hudson, an Oscar nominee this year for “Dreamgirls,” was forced to gain weight to play her part.

    There’s more good stuff if you follow the link.

  18. ModelChick821 says

    I think the reason why they said it was a mistake was because Rasputia was really abusive. I liked the movie but i think it sent a lot of wrong messages; like (obese) black women rolling their eyes, rolling their necks and always talking with their hands on their hips (think about Martin’s Shenehneh)…that gives us all a bad name! and the spousal abuse…what gives?

  19. Ezra says

    THe character of Rasputia is portrayed like that:

    black women rolling their eyes, rolling their necks and always talking with their hands on their hips

    Because that is how mr. murphy saw the character. I am not disregarding streotypes but that is how some behave and its not bad to necessarily play people like that. There have also been nice fat people in movies like “Big Momma” “all of the Klumps (excpet skinny ol’ grandma)” and “Gwenneth Paltro in Shallow Hal”

    I am not making commentary to anyones previous points (no sarcasm) but we can always live in a PC age, sometimes you have to accept the facts that this is the way that the world is. Full of sterotypes and such, but if we just accept it to a degree it will be better. THe problem is then you get into the whole “what is okay discussion” but thats for another time. We can make another forum for that if necessary.

    –Also–

    Mr. Murphy is making an overdue comeback and after dreamgirls, it is too bad the next film had to be so lesser. We all know that Eddie will always have the same sense of humor he always has had, and no matter how out of place this may sound, You know the brand, and if you don’t like it, don’t buy the product. i.e. Don’t see the movie.

    I was not saying that i did not agree with your commentary, i was just saying don’t see movies you do not like to see. I am very appreciative that we can have this discussion and i mean in no way to put down anyones posts or close people out of the discussion. Its like i woulden’t touch a hot iron if i didnt like to, but someone else might, and i should still be able to talk about it. I am open to reading all the comments that come this way. :)

  20. Jennifer Kesler says

    Full of sterotypes and such, but if we just accept it to a degree it will be better.

    I see no way in which history supports your point. It was a stereotype in the Old South that black men were all about raping white women. It led to a lot of lynchings of men meeting Mr. Murphy’s general description. Accepting stereotypes might make you personally feel better, but thank goodness not everyone is so disinterested in the attempt to make meaningful change.

    Of course, if you think meaningful change is silly, maybe this blog just isn’t for you. :)

  21. Ezra says

    I am not supporting stereotypes, but i am asking where the line should be drawn. I am very much into change, but there are still people who act like rasputia does in real life, and even though they are sterotypical, they are still people.

    Either way Mr. Murphy would have generated contraversy over his character. if she was nice, she would have been called an aunt jemimah, and if shes mean, shes a steryotype. Shes only a stereotype because people perpetuate it. If thandie had been fat, the movie would be called out for tying to be a hero and change sterotypes. but either way controversy would’ve come.

    Its sad that the world is like this, and when i say accapt it, accept it for who the people are. you will find movies of all sorts of people and noone has ever gotton away clean slate. try to change it, but in order to chasnge it it does not mean that all people have to change there personalties to escape the sterotype

  22. MaggieCat says

    I am very much into change, but there are still people who act like rasputia does in real life, and even though they are sterotypical, they are still people.

    it does not mean that all people have to change there personalties to escape the sterotype

    I don’t think anyone suggested that people change their actual personalities to avoid supporting a stereotype. This movie is apparently using a fictional character who is little more than a caricature. Real people on the other hand, even if they do fulfill a stereotype in some ways, are more complex- they may have some of those qualities but that isn’t the sum total of who they are. Film and television rarely try to make these characters more complex, and they rarely present characters who don’t fit any stereotype at all.

    There are people that don’t conform to the common types and they aren’t being represented. People who may, in some limited way, identify with the types that are being portrayed are also being done a disservice by being associated with easily identifiable markers (race, gender, weight) allowing a public that has been trained by the media to think they know who this person is because of something superficial without actually getting to know them.

  23. Jennifer Kesler says

    The act of stereotyping is really an act of selectively representing reality – emphasizing and even distorting some aspects of reality while ignoring others. Dominant classes use this technique to blow out of proportion every wrong committed by the subjected classes – from simple human frailties to real crimes, and even to acts designated as wrong only for the subjected classes. Meanwhile, the wrongs of the dominant class are downplayed or even effectively erased.

    This is at the heart of inequality.

  24. scarlett says

    i was just saying don’t see movies you do not like to see.

    This isn’t so much about seeing movies you don’t want to see (and I have no intention of giving up good time and money to see Norbit) but being forced to soak up ads just by watching commercial TV and listening to commercial radio. The post itself was about the way the movie was being promoted as ‘cruel, manipulative woman incidentally happens to be black and morbidly obese’, as an extension of the idea that being morbidly obese – and black, to boot – makes you cruel and evil.

    I’m sorry if I’ve spoken for someone who disagrees with this statement, but I don’t think ANYONE spends their good time and money on something they know they’re not going to like. If you read the negative criticisms on this site, a lot of the posts come from movies and TV shows watched in good faith, or promotional campaigns that look incredibly dodgy and are impossible to ignore. I’m yet to meet anyone who watched a movie KNOWING they weren’t going to like it, just for the sake of negatively critiquing it.

    I am not disregarding streotypes but that is how some behave and its not bad to necessarily play people like that

    I think everyone fits a stereotype if you look hard enough. I know I’ve had enough ‘dumb blond’ moments to appreciate that. But I don’t think there’s any corrolation between being a mean and cruel person and being an obese, black woman. I do dumb things from time to time – like everyone does – and I’m incidentally also a blond. I see no correlation between the two.

    Likewise, there’s no correlation between being mean and cruel and being a black, obese female. But film and television like to write it this way. Let’s see more mean, cruel white men, asian men, asian women, hermaphrodites, gay and lesbians, every combination we can think of! Because that’s what it comes down to – personality has ABSOLUTELY NO correlation to an arbitrary physical trait.

  25. Jennifer Kesler says

    It’s also about having to live in a world where others see this stuff, absorb the stereotypes and apply it to people who don’t deserve it. The solution to that is not for the enlightened to continue not watching crap. The solution is for the unenlightened to see another side to the argument and realize they can’t just blindly accept the status quo – in recognizing two sides to the argument, they become responsible for choosing one. Do they continue to wallow with the pigs, or do they try to elevate themselves?

    That’s why this site is here.

  26. Jennifer Kesler says

    Also I have to respond to this:

    THe character of Rasputia is portrayed like that:

    black women rolling their eyes, rolling their necks and always talking with their hands on their hips

    Because that is how mr. murphy saw the character.

    No, he made the character that way because that’s how he sees obese black women he doesn’t want to shag. If they don’t make his Eddie Jr. inflate, then they are just a pile of crap in his eyes.

    That’s the message I’m getting, anyway. I’m speaking as a white woman, so I acknowledge my point of view is unfortunately limited to that, but I find that misogyny tends to be color blind and race is generally a male issue, inasmuch as it’s the men of the races who came up with the concept of racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing. Men of every race comfort themselves with the reality that no matter how downtrod they are by other men, they still have their womenfolk to take out their frustrations on.

  27. Ezra says

    If they don’t make his Eddie Jr. inflate, then they are just a pile of crap in his eyes.

    Yeah, I don’t necessarily agree with that. Also for the view of Black & Fat = Cruel, what about Momma Klump? She was a fat black woman who was very sweet and nice, and nobody got on her about being a mammy type. In fact in the klumps 1&2, the only bad people were the skinny people. Mean ol skinny Grandma, The skinny guy who tries to beat up grandpa, and the cruelst of them all, Buddy Love, who was defiently not overweight.

    When Murphy makes a movie like that, its cool, but when the tables turn its not cool at all anymore. Its all in the point of view and everyone has a differnt one.

  28. sbg says

    When Murphy makes a movie like that, its cool, but when the tables turn its not cool at all anymore. Its all in the point of view and everyone has a differnt one.

    Uh, no it’s not cool. It’s just not the subject of THIS discussion.

  29. Ezra says

    sorry, cool was the wrong word, I meant to type ‘Cruel’ and kind of spaced out.

    I know its not the subject of the discussion, but i was just raising a point that actually does have something to do with this topic

  30. Jennifer Kesler says

    Okay, so if I become someone who can make pretty much any movie she wants, and with one exception, all the black men in my movies are portrayed as stupid, mean Neanderthals who can’t read, that’s cool by you as long as I have one nice black guy out of every 4 movies or so?

  31. sbg says

    Okay then, with corrected word and spelling:

    When Murphy makes a movie like that, its CRUEL, but when the tables turn it’s not CRUEL at all anymore. It’s all in the point of view and everyone has a different one.

    Ooookay. Still not getting the relevance to this discussion. No one has said, to my recollection, that the other bad shit Eddie’s been involved in is A-Okay whereas this instance it isn’t.

  32. Ezra says

    Okay, so if I become someone who can make pretty much any movie she wants, and with one exception, all the black men in my movies are portrayed as stupid, mean Neanderthals who can’t read, that’s cool by you as long as I have one nice black guy out of every 4 movies or so?

    yes you could. Its freedom of expression. Of course there are going to be people offended by it, but there are many movies that portray black men that way. Look and many cartoons that are shown today, and also many movies, mostly comedies. Especially the Blaxploitation.
    Made by black peopel insulting black people since 1970

    *also, since when has Eddie murphy made that many movies with Cruel Fat Black Women?

  33. Jennifer Kesler says

    yes you could. Its freedom of expression.

    I didn’t ask you whether I’m legally allowed to. I know I am. I asked if you’d be cool with that. Now I’m asking it again, and I’d also like you to reveal your race and gender when you respond.

    Especially the Blaxploitation.
    Made by black peopel insulting black people since 1970

    Blaxploitation movies exist in a vacuum away from the cultural mainstream. They’re not meant to be understood by the usual target Hollywood demographic. Murphy’s work is. There is no comparison.

    You should also be aware that no one on this site is advocating censorship. We advocate critical thinking that might lead to more enlightened choices. You seem to have the two confused, as many people do.

  34. Ezra says

    firstly, I am a Black Male. (Just to clear that one up)

    Secondly, I am not advocating censorship, i am also stating my views on the subject. I agree with many of the points that all of you are making, and i also appreciate that people do speak up about things that they are not cool with.

    Though eddies movie is not truely blaxpliotation, it really is at the heart of it. and blaxpliotation should not be merged with mainstream because it will always be disaterous.

    Note i did not answer your first qestion, because I am stil thinking it over. but i will get back to you on that.

  35. Claude says

    Wow, this debacle is laughable. That’s right – a debacle. I saw Norbit yesterday and decided to look on google to see what some people had to say about it. I knew the Rasputia character was going to spark some controversy but the fact that it degenerated to women spitting and snarling at Eddie Murphy is just sad on many levels.

    Rasputia is not fat because she’s evil. She’s evil because she’s evil (a trait that apparently runs in the Lattimore family). And no, she’s not a stereotype. The woman has absolutely NO conscience and can apparently hurl little old white ladies 30 feet through the air. She’s not a stereotype because she doesn’t even resemble a human character; she’s an overthetop, *monstrous* entity, and the people here that are DEATHLY afraid of people coming to some ill-informed conclusion that this is a real portrayal of large black women need to sit down and think about it for a minute. Just WHO in their right mind thinks this resembles a real human being, and how much does their opinion weigh in on your life if they did? The argument that this is a stereotype is only perpetuated by the people that want to see it because of the character’s condition. In reality, any amount of analysis of the Rasputia character can conclude that there isn’t enough character there to qualify as a stereotype. She’s just one big gag played on throughout the entire movie.

    And of course the Nutty Professor is going to be dismissed as not relevant. It destroys half of the arguments here about Eddie Murphy’s apparent hatred for all fat people that don’t ZOMG “inflate his Eddie Jr.”, in which he plans on exterminating them from the planet by getting in a fat suit in crude, comedic movies. Though it is a little ironic that people were gleefully eating up the Nutty Professor when all of the skinny people were portrayed as evil, yet Norbit comes along and it’s this sin against all creation because a total of 2 of the 5 “evil” characters were obese.

  36. Ezra says

    Thank you for wording so well what I have been trying to say.

    But still, i’ll bet nobodys gonna take it right

  37. Jennifer Kesler says

    And I could argue that you didn’t take my review “right”. But what good does that do.

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