It’s a kind of genius is a way. With a single character Eddie Murphy and his brother and co-writer Charlie have made it ok to laugh at fat people, to hate opinionated women, and to spout all the racist, sexist and misogynist filth they can dream up. It’s ok because Rasputia is so obviously the villain, right? Wrong. It’s actually “ok” because, deep down, we always enjoy a bit of hate with our comedy. When Rasputia finally gets what she deserves, we’re all thinking “Yeah! That’ll teach you, you fat bitch!”
At least that’s what the Murphy brothers are betting on, anyway. And that’s where the real tragedy of this story lies. It’s not in the waste of great actors like Cuba Gooding Jr. and Thandie Newton on paper-thin characters. It’s not even in the offensive racial stereotypes (blacks, Italians, Jews – everyone gets a kick). It’s in the fact that the once passionate Eddie Murphy has become a cynic. For all her shock value, Rasputia is nothing new, just a variation on one of mankind’s oldest and cruellest forms of entertainment – the freak show.
- Alistair Fairweather
What do an obese woman; a grouchy old man and a simpering wimp have in common? They're all in Norbit, they're all played by Eddie Murphy, and not one of them is remotely funny.
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