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It's Been 15 Years Since Eddie Murphy's 'Worst' Movie
Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

It's Been 15 Years Since Eddie Murphy's 'Worst' Movie

Eddie Murphy took home the 'Worst Actor of the Decade' Razzie following his performance in this movie. 'Nice guy, huge problem.'

'Nice guy. Huge problem.' It's been 15 years since Eddie Murphy released one of his 'worst' movies ever.

Murphy's stand-up exploits with Raw and Delirious were legendary. His earliest appearances in the likes of 48 Hrs., Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop made him a star. His underrated efforts, like The Golden Child and even Beverly Hills Cop 2, have endured. Even his silly mainstream efforts, like The Nutty Professor series and Dr. Dolittle, made him a household name for kids.

Despite our best efforts and the crackers in-between - including his Oscar-nominated performance in Dreamgirls - one can't forget the dark era of his filmography: The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Meet Dave; A Thousand Words; and, probably the worst of all, Norbit.

Norbit, released in 2007, stars Murphy, as well as being written and produced by Murphy. It follows Norbit (Murphy), a mild-mannered man who was abandoned at a Chinese orphanage, run by restauranteur Mr. Wong (Murphy). When he was getting bullied in the playground, he was rescued by Rasputia (Murphy). Later in life, they get married, but he quickly becomes tired of her tyrannical, unhinged ways.

Alongside Murphy, it also stars Thandie Newton as Kate, Norbit's love interest, and Terry Crews as 'Big Black Jack Latimore', not to mention Cuba Gooding Jr., Lester 'Rasta' Speight and Marlon Wayans.

Eddie Murphy and Thandie Newton in Norbit. (Paramount Pictures)
Eddie Murphy and Thandie Newton in Norbit. (Paramount Pictures)

From a budget of $60 million - seriously - it grossed more than $159 million worldwide. I saw this at the cinema, my friends saw it at the cinema, I remember other friends renting it from Blockbuster; somehow, we were all duped into watching this absolute turkey.

First, let's look at the accolades: an actual Academy Award nomination for best makeup; and a whopping total of eight Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, and ended up taking home three Razzies, all for Eddie Murphy, who also won the Worst Actor of the Decade award.

Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy in Norbit. (Paramount Pictures)
Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy in Norbit. (Paramount Pictures)

Next, the Norbituaries: it holds a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 'Even if you go back decades, body fascism has rarely been so brazen, or so unfunny. Horrifying,' Time Out's Anna Smith wrote, while Richard Roeper described it as 'offensively bad'.

In an interview with Marc Maron last year, Murphy reflected on the likes of Norbit. 'I was making sh*tty movies. I was like... this sh*t ain’t fun. They’re giving me Razzies. Motherf*ckers gave me the ‘worst actor ever’ Razzie. [So I thought], maybe it’s time to take a break,' he said.

'I was only gonna take a break for a year, then all of a sudden six years go by, and I’m sitting on the couch, and I could sit on the couch and not get off it, but I don’t want to the last bunch of sh*t they see me do [to be] bullsh*t. The plan was to go do Dolemite, Saturday Night Live, Coming 2 America and then do stand-up and see how I felt afterwards. At least then they’ll know I’m [still] funny.'

Now, we can look back on Norbit and laugh - not at it, or with it, but at the fact it exists at all.

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Topics: Eddie Murphy, Film and TV, Entertainment