Monday, January 23, 2012
A small orb falls from space into the New York apartment of a boy, Josh. Three months later, a crew of miniature aliens from planet Nil land on Earth in an android in order to obtain the orb back, which will help them extract the salt from Earth's oceans and save the energy supply on their planet. After numerous misadventures, the android successfully passes as a human called Dave and meets Josh and his single mother Gina, but the crew decides not to ruin Earth's oceans. Instead, they make friends with Josh and Gina and return back to space in order to find another planet.
Out of all the negatively received Eddie Murphy comedies, this is one of the rare ones that did not deserve such a harsh reputation: a blend of "Star Trek" and "Innerspace", "Meet Dave" is a refreshingly fun, imaginative, untrammelled and harmless family fun that gains 90 % of its charm thanks to the great performance of the comedian who once again showed that innocent humor suits him far better than dirty jokes. Never for a moment vulgar, never for a moment moronic, "Meet Dave" is at times contagiously fun, draining jokes from the classic "fish out of water"/"stranger in a strange land" concept, i.e. the contradiction between the hero's obvious unnatural reactions and the superficial reaction of the people around him that "overlook" them and still (forcefully) regard them as natural, whereas, unlike "Norbit", director Robbins this time builds a story not based on jokes "below the belt". The opening drags and it takes some good 30 minutes until the story takes off, whereas some ideas or subplots were underdeveloped, yet Murphy is simply indestructible in playing the title android with that hilariously naive-blank facial expression, which pays out in such funny scenes as the one where he "fights" with a green stuffed toy he mistook for an alien or when he has an entirely calm face during a roller coaster ride, while his miniature commander inside him has an entirely different face with panic written all over him: as someone already noted, if it makes you laugh, why fight it?