Forget ‘Dave’

by Ian T. McFarland on July 11, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Meet Dave
  • IMDB: link

Eddie Murphy is just as funny as his agent is cruel – even though Murphy can still make us laugh, the dreck he has resorted to starring in is uninhabitable.  So goes Meet Dave, well-intentioned, innocent enough high concept family flick that falls flat.

Growing up is hard.  Especially for Josh, who in addition being bastardized when his father is killed in the line of duty, is a total nerd!  No one likes him, so he’s more than happy to make the acquaintance of Dave, who, it turns out, is actually a man-sized spaceship with a striking resemblance to Eddie Murphy, with a large crew of humanoid aliens measuring one inch controlling him on the inside, falls out of the sky and becomes the pathetic chump’s first friend.  In the final scene, Dave abandons Josh, who having learned nothing about friendship throughout the ordeals of the story, goes back to being friendless and grows up lonely (we can assume).

This crew of sterile aliens has come to Earth to steal the salt in the Ocean, which their species thrives on but has a shortage of on their home planet.  But as the passionless visitors spend more time on Earth, they begin to exhibit emotions typical of humans, giving way to dancing and gossiping.

There’s even one alien who becomes gay, which is very funny, because homosexuality is hilarious!  He glitters up his drab uniform, begins to sport a strong lisp overnight and in one scene, he proclaims (and I quote,): “I am Johnny Razzles, and I am FABULOUS!”  I can take jokes that work; but humor based on these gay stereotypes aren’t just not funny and easy to make – they’re embarrassing and borderline offensive.

I could overlook this low-point of the family comedy if there were any high-points to contrast with it; but there aren’t.  As a family film, it’s sentimental enough, but the moral of the story is poorly relayed and ultimately a footnote.  As a comedy, there’s little to laugh at.  Murphy is good enough at physical comedy to give us a few laughs as the spaceship; but it gets old by the halfway point.

The movie’s saving grace is that it’s not terrible.  While not compelling in the least, the production value is decent – there are some fun if uninspired sets for the inside of Starship Dave, and the editing and photography are all passable.  As much as the film is a pedestrian bore, it is at least a competent one that is fluent in the language and flow of film.

Meet Dave is probably exactly what you think it is and, furthermore, you probably decided if you were going to see it or not before you read this review.  This comedy is not awful – you won’t be laughing at it; but you’re not going to be laughing with it much either.

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