Norbit

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Norbit
Film poster for the film Norbit
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrian Robbins
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Charlie Murphy
Starring
Narrated byTone Man
Music byDavid Newman
CinematographyClark Mathis
Edited byNed Bastille
Production
company
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • February 9, 2007 (2007-02-09)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$60 million[1]
Box office$159.3 million[1]

Norbit is a 2007 American comedy film, directed by Brian Robbins, and co-written by, co-produced by, and starring Eddie Murphy. The film co-stars Thandie Newton, Terry Crews, Cuba Gooding Jr., Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams, Marlon Wayans, and Charlie Murphy. It was released by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures on February 9, 2007.

The film was negatively received by critics and earned Murphy three Golden Raspberry Awards, out of the film's eight total nominations. However, it was a commercial success and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Makeup.

Plot[edit]

Norbit Albert Rice (Eddie Murphy) and Kate Thomas (Thandie Newton) are best friends as children at an orphanage, which doubles as a Chinese restaurant owned by their father figure Hangten Wong (Murphy), but are separated when Kate gets adopted by a family. Five years later, while being bullied at a playground, Norbit is saved by a tough, overweight girl named Rasputia Latimore (Murphy), who scares him into being her boyfriend and in turn protects him from the bullies. Rasputia grows up to be an arrogant, vindictive, and mean-spirited woman who forces Norbit to marry her, and insults and controls him to make sure that she keeps him all to herself. Norbit is also belittled by Rasputia's older brothers Big Black Jack (Terry Crews), Blue (Lester 'Rasta' Speight), and Earl (Clifton Powell), working as a bookkeeper at their local building company. The Latimore brothers also run a "security business" and instill fear in everyone in the town except Mr. Wong, who is the only person in the community who refuses to sell his business to them.

When Norbit discovers that Rasputia is cheating on him with her dance instructor Buster Perkin (Marlon Wayans), he throws away his wedding ring due to her deception. Norbit vents his anger over Rasputia's infidelity at a puppet show for the children at the orphanage. Unexpectedly, during the show, Norbit sees Kate for the first time since childhood. Stunned by her return, his affection for her reignites while he learns she is buying Mr. Wong's orphanage, but he is disappointed to find out the following Tuesday that she is now engaged to Deion Hughes (Cuba Gooding Jr.).

With help from his two ex-pimp friends Pope Sweet Jesus (Eddie Griffin) and Lord Have Mercy (Katt Williams) and the other townspeople, Norbit manages to meet up with Kate without Rasputia's knowledge. Revealed to be a crooked businessman and gold digger, Deion helps the Latimore brothers in their plan to turn the orphanage into a strip club called Nipplopolis to get a cut in the profit. The Latimore brothers dupe Norbit into getting Kate to sign papers to renew the restaurant's liquor license and put it in the Latimores' name. Norbit's meeting with Kate leads to him helping her rehearse her wedding, where a kiss between the two of them makes her reconsider getting married. When Norbit returns home, he learns that Rasputia witnessed their date. Rasputia threatens violence against Kate if she sees Norbit with her again.

Kate confronts Norbit after finding out about the deal and sees him in the window of the basement, where he has been locked away by Rasputia. Norbit reluctantly insults Kate, deliberately driving her away so that Rasputia will not follow through with her previous threat to hurt Kate. Satisfied with Norbit hurting Kate's feelings, Rasputia adds that Norbit played Kate and has been setting her up since the first day she came back to town. Heartbroken, Kate runs away. Norbit decides to leave town for good, when he finds a letter from a private investigator he hired to look into Deion, discovering that Deion has become rich from divorce settlements.

The next morning, the Latimores reveal their plan to Norbit and lock him up in the basement again. Norbit escapes from the basement, reaches the church, and informs Kate of Deion's gold digging schemes. Unfortunately, his proof of Deion's divorce settlements were destroyed during his escape to the church. Norbit presents further evidence by bringing in Deion's ex-wives and children show up in person. Deion flees in defeat, and the Latimores attack Norbit in retaliation. The townspeople take up arms to protect Norbit, but Rasputia fights her way through the crowd and prepares to kill Norbit. She is stopped when Wong harpoons her in the rear, causing her to flee town, with her brothers following and being chased out by the town. Soon, Norbit and Kate buy the orphanage and get married under the same tree where they once played as children. Rasputia and her brothers move to Mexico where they open up their strip club, where Rasputia becomes their most popular and lucrative stripper.

Cast[edit]

  • Eddie Murphy as:
    • Norbit Rice, a shy but likable nerd
    • Rasputia Latimore, a morbidly obese, sadistic, and tyrannical woman, who is Norbit's abusive wife
    • Hangten Wong, the gruff yet kind-hearted owner of the orphanage where Norbit and Kate met as children
  • Thandie Newton as Kate Thomas, Norbit's childhood best friend, in whom he has a romantic interest
  • Terry Crews as Big Black Jack Latimore, Rasputia's eldest brother and Henchman
  • Lester "Rasta" Speight as Blue Latimore, Rasputia's second eldest brother and Henchman
  • Clifton Powell as Earl Latimore, Rasputia's third eldest brother and Henchman
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. as Deion Hughes, Kate's fiancé
  • Eddie Griffin as Pope Sweet Jesus, an ex-pimp and Norbit's friend
  • Katt Williams as Lord Have Mercy, Pope's sidekick and friend
  • Khamani Griffin as Young Norbit (age 5)
  • Austin Reid as Young Norbit (age 10)
  • Jonathan Robinson as Young Norbit (age 17)
  • Floyd Levine as Abe, the tailor.
  • Lindsey Sims-Lewis as Young Rasputia (age 10)
  • Yves Lola St. Vil as Young Rasputia (age 17)
  • China Anderson as young Kate (age 5)
  • Anthony Russell as Sam Giovanni, the Italian owner of Giovanni's
  • Pat Crawford Brown as Mrs. Henderson, an elderly woman
  • Jeanette Miller as Mrs. Coleman, an elderly woman
  • Michael Colyar as Morris, the barber
  • Marlon Wayans as Buster "Bust-A-Move" Perkin, Rasputia's tap dancing instructor with whom Rasputia has an affair
  • Richard Gant as The Preacher
  • Alexis Rhee as Mrs. Ling Ling Wong, Mr. Wong's wife
  • Kristen Schaal as Event Organizer
  • Charlie Murphy (voice) as Lloyd the Dog, Mrs. Henderson's pet Pug dog (credited as Floyd the Dog)
  • Tone Man as Narrator (voice)

Production[edit]

Norbit was the first of three films where director Brian Robbins and Eddie Murphy worked together. They later collaborated for Meet Dave and A Thousand Words. In the case of the first two movies he starred in working with Robbins, Murphy did multiple characters and worked in body costumes.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Norbit was panned by critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 9%, based on 123 reviews, with the site's consensus reading, "Coming off his Oscar-nominated performance in Dreamgirls, the talented-but-inconsistent Eddie Murphy plays three roles in Norbit, a cruel, crass, stereotype-filled comedy that's more depressing than funny."[2] Metacritic gave the movie a score of 27 out of 100, based on reviews from 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[3] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a B grade, with under eighteens (28% of those surveyed) giving it a B+ grade.[4]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the movie a positive review, suggesting that Norbit might help Murphy's chances of winning an Oscar for his role in Dreamgirls, saying that his work playing three distinct characters in Norbit is more impressive than anything he did in Dreamgirls.[5] Others suggested it might hurt his chances.[6] Ultimately, Alan Arkin won the award for Best Supporting Actor.

Josh Tyler of Cinemablend.com gave the movie a mostly negative review, in which he described parts of the film as "pretty despicable" and stated that "the plot relies on the idea that being fat also means you’re a horrible bitch." However, he pointed out that "some of it’s also kind of sweet. Eddie’s really quite good as Norbit, the character is sympathetic and funny. He has a strange sort of perfect chemistry with Thandie Newton, and that’s just not something I would have expected."[7] Liz Braun of Jam! Movies described Norbit as "mostly blubber jokes about how fat Rasputia really is" but said that "the movie is not without genuine laughs. Most of those laughs are generated by the other actors." In regard to the "terrifying" character Rasputia, she went so far as to say that the film "tends to confirm one's worst suspicions about Murphy and what appears to be his general fear and loathing of women. The Rasputia gag gets a little freaky if you think about it too much. And you wouldn't want to dwell on how much Thandie Newton looks like a slender boy in her role as Norbit's true love, either. So don't."[8]

Black activists took issue with Eddie Murphy's portrayal of the character Rasputia, calling Norbit "just the latest [film built] around a black man dressing up as an unsophisticated, overweight black woman."[6]

Box office[edit]

Norbit was a success at the box office. It opened to $34.2 million in the United States, and was Eddie Murphy's 14th #1 box office opener.[9] The film earned $95,673,607 at the North American domestic box office, and $63,639,954 in other markets, for a total of $159,313,561 worldwide.[1] The film was released in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2007, and topped the country's box office for the next two weekends, before being overtaken by 300.[10][11][12]

Accolades[edit]

Norbit was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, and won three awards, all for Eddie Murphy as three different characters.[13] The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup.[14]

Award Category Subject Result
Academy Award[14] Best Makeup Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji Nominated
Golden Raspberry Award[13] Worst Picture John Davis, Mike Tollin and Eddie Murphy Nominated
Worst Director Brian Robbins Nominated
Worst Screenplay Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy Nominated
Worst Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. Nominated
Eddie Murphy (as Norbit) Won
Worst Supporting Actor Eddie Murphy (as Mr. Wong) Won
Worst Supporting Actress Eddie Murphy (as Rasputia) Won
Worst Screen Couple Eddie Murphy (and either Eddie Murphy or Eddie Murphy) Nominated

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack for Norbit was released on February 6, 2007 by Lakeshore Records.[15][16]

  1. "Standing in the Safety Zone" – The Fairfield Four (2:41)
  2. "It's Goin' Down" – Yung Joc (4:03)
  3. "You Did" – Kate Earl feat. The Designated Hitters (2:26)
  4. "Sexual Healing" – Marvin Gaye
  5. "I Only Want to Be with You" – Dusty Springfield (2:37)
  6. "Milkshake" – Kelis (3:04)
  7. "Shoppin' for Clothes" – The Coasters (2:58)
  8. "Walk It Out" – Unk (2:54)
  9. "Looking for You" – Kirk Franklin (4:06)
  10. "Sweet Honey" – Slightly Stoopid (3:52)
  11. "The Hands of Time" – Perfect Circle (6:19)
  12. "Young Norbit" – David Newman (3:33)
  13. "Queen of Whores" – David Newman (:46)
  14. "Kate Returns"/"Tuesday, Tuesday" – David Newman (3:24)
  15. "Norbit Sneaks Out" – David Newman (:33)
  16. "Rasputia's Fury" – David Newman (1:44)
  17. "Norbit and Kate" – David Newman (:55)

Several songs were used in the film which do not appear on the soundtrack album, in order of appearance:

The song "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" is sung at Norbit and Rasputia's wedding party, but likewise does not appear on the soundtrack album.

Home media[edit]

Norbit was released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and HD DVD on June 5, 2007. Since HD DVD was discontinued, Norbit has remained available on Blu-ray and DVD.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Norbit". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com.
  2. ^ "Norbit (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
  3. ^ Norbit at Metacritic
  4. ^ Kilday, Gregg (February 13, 2007). "Murphy laugher 'Norbit' in orbit with $34.2 mil bow". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Mick LaSalle (February 9, 2007). "MOVIE REVIEWS / He can sing, he can dance. But mostly he likes fat suits". San Francisco Chronicle.
  6. ^ a b Braxton, Greg; Welkos, Robert W. (February 8, 2007). "Is this what a future Oscar winner looks like?". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Tyler, Josh. "Norbit Review". Cinemablend.com. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  8. ^ Braun, Liz. "'Norbit' a one big misogynist gag". Jam!. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  9. ^ Nicole Sperling (February 12, 2007). "'Norbit' take hefty at $33.7 mil". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ "Weekend box office 9th March 2007 - 11th March 2007". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Weekend box office 16th March 2007 - 18th March 2007". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Weekend box office 23rd March 2007 - 25th March 2007". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Norbit gains three wins at Razzies". Razzies.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-10.
  14. ^ a b Academy Award Nominations
  15. ^ Norbit SOUNDTRACK amazon.com
  16. ^ Norbit - Original Soundtrack allmusic.com

External links[edit]