‘Meet Dave’ delivers the unexpected

Myron@whatshappeningmyron.com | 7/23/2008, 7 p.m.

I’m normally not an opening-weekend moviegoer; it’s usually the second or third weekend before I get around to checking out the movie I’d like to see. This past Saturday, I decided to round up my kids and check out “Meet Dave.” I’ll be honest. I already knew what I was going to write before I even entered the theatre. Lets be real, this is the guy responsible for such films as “Holy Man, “Vampire in Brooklyn” and “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.”

Speaking of “Pluto Nash,” it was Murphy’s lowest grossing film to date. It cost $100 million to make but grossed less than $5 million at the box office. Not only was it his lowest grossing film, it was his worst in my opinion. Even Murphy knew it was bad, as he refused to promote the film prior to its release.

The movie trailers for “Meet Dave” reminded me a lot of “Pluto Nash” even before I decided to go and see it. I remember thinking, “Why would he do a film like this again?” I also thought, “What movie studio exec in his/her right mind would finance a film like this again?”

My 9-year-old daughter also smelled a stinker. She begged me to see “Journey to the Center of the Earth” instead. I was determined to get the material I needed to ridicule the movie and bolster my argument that Eddie Murphy should retire from making films.

Ninety minutes later, my kids and I left the theatre feeling somewhat surprised. It was not a bad movie at all. It wasn’t the best movie ever, but it wasn’t a bad movie at all. My kids were even quoting some of the lines they thought were funny. Not only did I prejudge the film, I misjudged it as well.

Lets look at the big picture: most of us who are in our mid-30s and up remember Murphy from ‘Saturday Night Live.’ We didn’t even realize that they never had any African-American hosts. We watched ‘Saturday Night Live’ for Murphy characters – Gumby, Mr. Robinson, and Buckwheat – that single-handedly saved the show from cancellation.

And although he has been responsible for a few of the worst films in Hollywood, Murphy has brought us such jewels as “Coming to America,” “Dreamgirls” and “Beverly Hills Cop (just the first one.”) We really loved his stand up comedy film “Raw,” even though it was really not a family-friendly product.

Murphy remains one of the most important figures in Hollywood today and he’s blazed an important trail for many young African-American comedians and actors. Let’s give the guy credit; I think he has succeeded more than he has failed.

I don’t think we necessarily want the arguably most important African-American comedic actor of our time to retire from films. I just think we would like to see him do grown-up projects again, because we miss that.

We’ve gone without Murphy’s brand of stand-up comedy for quite a few years and we miss that too. And if he has to retire from films to do it, we’re willing to accept it.

As for the decision to retire from music, I might agree with that one.


Q – “Was radio personality Tom Joyner once a member of the Commodores?”
M. Houston, Memphis

A – Joyner was a member when the group’s members were students at Tuskegee University in Alabama in the 1960’s. Under pressure from his father, he left the group before it became a model of success.
Got an entertainment question? Ask Myron at Myron@myronmays.com.

(Myron Mays is a freelance columnist and host of “Myron at Midnite on WRBO Soul Classics 103.5)