Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

16 February 2008


I actually sat through Brian Robbins's film Norbit in its entirety. Like last year's Click, I would never have watched Norbit except that it was nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for an Oscar in the category of Best Makeup. (An award it should probably win. The makeup really is excellent. But in service of what must be the most atrocious, tasteless film of the year.)

Norbit stars Eddie Murphy as a nebbish orphan who marries an enormously fat black woman who bullies him and makes his life hell. Murphy, of course, also plays the wife (her name is Rasputia). Murphy also plays Mr. Wong, the Chinese man who runs the adoption agency where Norbit lived as a child. The film also stars the totally gorgeous Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding Jr., Eddie Griffin (the only funny person in the movie), and Katt Williams.

The main thing about Norbit is that it should never have been made. The amount of time and effort that was spent on something this ridiculous, this offensive and this pointless is mind-boggling. It's extremely poorly directed, with some absolutely terrible acting at times. The plot is paper-thin and is really just an excuse for fat joke after fat joke after fat joke. If this isn't completely offensive, I don't know what is. And it isn't even funny. And the film makes it seem as though Rasputia's weight is not just heavy, but immeasurable. She is heavy like an anvil in a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. She busts through walls with her weight, and empties pools by landing in them, though she is never injured or hurt in any way. All that weight, I guess, keeps her from being injured. Fat people, it seems, don't actually feel anything.

The penultimate sequence in the film sees Mr. Wong (who has a love of whaling) yelling "Whale Ho!" and throwing a makeshift harpoon at Rasputia. He hits her, you guessed it, directly in her asshole. Aside from being completely preposterous, it's a sanitized and valorized image of anal rape! Rasputia, of course, is not injured, because fat people don't have any feelings, or even nerve endings. She speeds off like Wile E. Coyote and flees the town.

A horrific movie. Not as boring as Becoming Jane, but horrific nonetheless.

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