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  Publicity Stills of
"Meet Dave"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Director: Brian Robbins
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Gabrielle Union, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Helms, Judah Friedlander, Pat Kilbane
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.meetdavemovie.com/

Opening Day: 14 August 2008


Seeking a way to save their doomed world, a crew of tiny, human-looking aliens arrives on earth in the perfect disguise--a spaceship shaped like an ordinary man (Eddie Murphy, the ship's Captain). The spaceship, with each miniature alien responsible for operating a particular part of the body, embarks on an adventure in Manhattan where it meets a family who teaches an acerbic and non-emotional culture of aliens to find their humanity.

Movie Review:

Eddie Murphy has comedic pedigree of the highest levels in Hollywood with the likes of the Nutty Professor, Dr. Doolittle and even an excellent turn in Dreamgirls where his disappointment at not winning an Oscar was apparent at the Kodak. Unfortunately, Murphy's latest offering does not hit anywhere near the heights of his best offerings and sorely disappoints. The bright side though, is Meet Dave is wonderfully charming and heartwarming - something you'll love to bring your kid to and a great deviation from the rather disturbing Norbit.

Eddie Murphy plays Dave Ming Cheng, the captain of a ship from outer space arriving on Earth in search of salt to save the earth. The name itself is a result of a modern gag that is representative of much of the humour in the movie - aliens finding modern day Earth puzzling and funny though its various modern day quirks. He plays both the captain and the ship itself, shaped in his own likeness. On both counts Eddie is excellent in his somewhat limited capacity, crippled by an uninspiring script and weak humour. Eddie's still got it though and you know he still has the ability to be funny in all sorts of crazy, different ways - do watch for some nifty robot speech, movements and dancing.

Gabrielle Union does a decent, natural job as the ship's Number 3, sticking with Murphy as his eventual love interest and helping him foil a mutiny by the ship's Number 2, played by Ed Helms who was rather annoying more than anything throughout the movie. The story really suffers past the first ten minutes of spaceship banter. Writers Rob Greenberg and Bill Corbett really expect the audience to throw disbelief out of the window - and there is nothing wrong with that. There is little that's normal about miniature aliens travelling in an Eddie Murphy shaped spaceship. Yet, these movies are only really funny when it seems really believable in its own insane world.

Director Brian Robbins banks too much on the Eddie Murphy charm and it does more to harm the movie than anything. The city seems dead and cardboard, Elizabeth Bank's character Gina, who is the Earth woman interacting with Murphy's character, seemed a convenient and unreliable foil to advance the movie. When you knock someone ten feet in the air and he walks away, only for you to find him at a back alley standing like a mannequin, would you invite him into your house? Just let Murphy tell us he is a pantomime artist or something - just give the scenes in the story proper premises to stand on.

Meet Dave labours on to the end, making a bright, earnest performance by Murphy seem a waste. The movie however, manages a few bits of family niceties, mostly through a honest pursuant and friend of Gina (where we finally see nice, morally upright goody two shoes for once) and Gina's little son who befriends Murphy (or the spacecraft really). The cinema sorely needs more films that score on humour that no longer plays the crass card or the sexual card while being both genuinely funny and telling a good story. Meet Dave has the right intentions, but the wrong execution.

Meet Dave might be a laboured production that scores low on story and writing but hopefully it doesn't in anyway discourage the likes of Murphy from thinking the audience appreciates and needs such goodness. Locally, we see how Jack Neo has once again hit jackpot when he goes back to the roots of making a good, family friendly movie with a strong, credible story. Meet Dave might disappoint, but its still a good film to bring the kids to and let them laugh along to it without having to endure Mike Myers' style crass toilet humour. Keep going and don't stop, our nutty professor.

Movie Rating:

(You might want to cover your kids' eyes during the rather violent accident though)

Review by Daniel Lim


. Transformers (2007)

. Shrek The Third (2007)

. Norbit (2007)

. The Shaggy Dog (2006)

. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)


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