Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Love Them Fatsuits!; Or, What the Hell Is Wrong With Eddie Murphy?

Once upon a time, Eddie Murphy was a spunky, up-and-coming comic whose edgy, profanity-laden routines were enjoyed by all. Then, somewhere in the early 1990s, something changed. He discovered fatsuits. No one knows how or why this had such a profound effect on his life, but it did—and for whatever reason, monomania set in. First, there was The Nutty Professor. Note, Jerry Lewis did not wear a fatsuit in the original, but Eddie Murphy felt the film was screaming for one. He felt this about all films, actually. He then moved on to The Nutty Professor 2. He was really expanding his range in the fatsuit now, playing several characters in fatsuits within the same scene!

Martin Lawrence, feeling that Eddie Murphy had found the Holy Grail of comedy and that there was no turning back, rolled out his own brand of fatsuit movies with Big Momma's House. Sure, these were clearly B-level fatsuit movies, but, hey, they were enough to get us through the drought between the Eddie Murphy versions.

Now Eddie's back with Norbit, in what's sure to be hilarious look at a spineless loser with a morbidly obese wife. Be on the lookout for Norbit 2, or perhaps a remake of The Absent-Minded Professor in which he invents a Flubber fatsuit.

(Photos copyright Paramount and Dreamworks Pictures.)


Randy said...

Eddie Murphy is from the fatsuit school of acting, which has become very popular in recent years. It's the philosophical opposite of method eating, embraced by performers who are too lazy or undisciplined to add their fat organically. This school not only includes Murphy and Martin Lawrence, but also Weird Al Yankovic, who used it to great effect in his "Eat It" video, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who slipped into 200 extra pounds for Shallow Hal.

Many in Hollywood frown on this shortcut to corpulence, and fatsuit actors are virtually excluded from Oscar consideration. Let's face it -- there's nothing quite like the method eating of Robert DeNiro, who stuffed his face to gain 60 pounds when portraying an over-the-hill Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. And, of course, who can top the original method eater, Marlon Brando, who ballooned to more than 300 pounds for his real-life role as American cinema's most shocking train wreck?

Pat said...

There should be a "Best Method Eater" category in the Oscars.

Randy said...

What the Oscars really needs is a "Best Popcorn Trick" category. With the drek Hollywood cranks out these days, pulling the popcorn trick is the only reason people go to the pictures anymore.

Pat said...

Eddie Murphy: "I've got an idea for a movie"

Movie Exec: "I'm listening..."

Eddie Murphy: "It's about this guy and his struggle.."

Movie Exec: "PLEASE- just cut to the part where a fatsuit is involved"

Randy said...

Trading Places was a fine film, with excellent performances by Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, but I think an even better plot would have been Eddie Murphy trading places with Eddie Murray, All Star first baseman of the Baltimore Orioles. When this film was released in June 1983, Eddie Murray was in the midst of another monster season, leading his team to an eventual World Series championship a few months later. Murray was known throughout the league as tight-lipped and distrustful of the media. So the possibilites for a switch between a reticent slugger and a motor-mouthed smart-ass are endless.

One day, through the machinations of the Orioles GM and the owner of Chuckles comedy club, their lives are secretly traded.

Suddenly, Eddie Murphy finds himself trying to hold the runner on the bag in the heat of a pennant race. But his profane impersonations of Buckwheat do nothing to stop a crucial steal of second.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a soft-spoken, switch-hitting first baseman who combines power and average like no one since Mickey Mantle struggles through a set at Chuckles, unwilling to talk to the audience.

With Denholm Elliot as the London-accented Orioles manager and Jamie Lee Curits as the topless ball girl, how could this film have failed?

Pat said...

Would Murphy hit homeruns from each side of the plate in the same game?

Anyone notice the HORRENDOUS flub in Trading Places where they are outside Independence Hall and traffic is going in both directions on Chestnut Street? Duh. It only goes East. And they expect us to believe that it doesn't with their Hollywood Magic. You know who I feel sorry for? That kid in Sao Paulo who will live his life believing traffic goes in both directions on that street. Living a lie!

Randy said...

Yeah, John Landis employed Lucasfilm's state-of-the-art blue-screen technology to make it appear as if Chestnut Street had two-way traffic. Many in Hollywood questioned Landis's logic, in that the one-second establishing shot -- which took three months in England's Elstree Studios to complete -- put the film so over budget that the price of Sno Caps at refreshment counters had to be jacked up to $17 a box for it to show a profit.

Landis vehemently defended his decision to Paramount execs: "One-way traffic is not art! One-way traffic will ruin my film!"