Norbit is a 2007 American comedy film, directed by Brian Robbins, and co-written by, co-produced by, and starring Eddie Murphy. The film co-stars Thandie Newton, Terry Crews, Cuba Gooding Jr., Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams, Marlon Wayans, and Charlie Murphy. It was released by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures on February 9, 2007.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Robbins|
|Narrated by||Tone Man|
|Music by||David Newman|
|Edited by||Ned Bastille|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$159.3 million|
The film was negatively received by critics and earned Murphy three Golden Raspberry Awards, out of the film's eight total nominations. However, it received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Makeup. It was a commercial success earning a total of $159 million worldwide, against a production budget of $60 million.
Childhood friends Norbit Albert Rice (Eddie Murphy) and Kate Thomas (Thandie Newton), living at an orphanage doubling as a Chinese restaurant owned by Mr. Wong (Murphy), are separated when Kate is adopted. Five years later, Norbit is rescued from playground bullies by a tough, overweight girl named Rasputia Latimore (Murphy), who scares him into being her boyfriend. Rasputia grows into an arrogant and mean-spirited woman who forces Norbit to marry her, insulting and controlling him. Norbit is also belittled by Rasputia's older brothers Big Black Jack (Terry Crews), Blue (Lester Speight), and Earl (Clifton Powell), working as a bookkeeper at their construction company. The Latimore brothers also run a "security business" and instill fear in the entire community except Mr. Wong, who refuses to sell them his business.
Norbit discovers Rasputia is cheating on him with her dance instructor Buster Perkin (Marlon Wayans), throwing away his wedding ring and venting his anger at a puppet show for the orphans. He is stunned to see Kate for the first time since childhood, and his affection for her reignites as he learns she is buying Mr. Wong's orphanage, but he is disappointed to learn she is engaged to Deion Hughes (Cuba Gooding Jr.).
With help from ex-pimp friends Pope Sweet Jesus (Eddie Griffin) and Lord Have Mercy (Katt Williams) and other townspeople, Norbit meets Kate without Rasputia's knowledge. Deion is revealed to be helping the Latimore brothers in their plan to turn the orphanage into a strip club. The brothers dupe Norbit into getting Kate to sign papers to renew the restaurant's liquor license in the Latimores' name. Norbit's meeting with Kate leads to helping rehearse her wedding, where a kiss between them makes her reconsider marrying Deion. Norbit returns home to learn Rasputia witnessed their kiss, and she threatens violence against Kate if she spends time with Norbit again.
Kate goes to confront Norbit about the deal, and sees him being held prisoner by Rasputia. Norbit reluctantly insults Kate, deliberately driving her away so Rasputia will not hurt her. Satisfied, Rasputia lies that Norbit has manipulated Kate since she came back to town. Heartbroken, Kate runs away, and Norbit decides to leave town for good when he finds a letter from a private investigator he hired revealing that Deion is rich from various divorce settlements.
The Latimores reveal their plan to Norbit, and lock him in the basement again. Norbit escapes, reaching the wedding just in time to inform Kate of Deion's schemes. Though his proof of Deion's divorce settlements was destroyed after falling into a pond, Norbit presents Deion's ex-wives and children. Deion flees, and the Latimores attack Norbit, but the townspeople take up arms. Rasputia fights her way through the crowd and prepares to kill Norbit, but Mr. Wong harpoons her in the rear. Rasputia and her brothers are chased out of town, and Norbit and Kate buy the orphanage and marry under the same tree where they played as children. The Latimores move to Mexico and open up their strip club "El Nipplopolis", where Rasputia becomes their most popular and lucrative stripper.
- Eddie Murphy as:
- Norbit Albert Rice, a shy but likable man who is the victim of domestic abuse by his wife, Rasputia.
- Rasputia Latimore, a morbidly obese, sadistic, and tyrannical woman, who is Norbit's abusive wife
- Hangten Wong, the gruff yet kind-hearted owner of the orphanage where Norbit and Kate met as children.
- Thandie Newton as Kate Thomas, Norbit's childhood best friend, in whom he has had a lifelong romantic interest.
- Terry Crews as Big Black Jack Latimore, Rasputia's eldest brother and Henchman.
- Lester "Rasta" Speight as Blue Latimore, Rasputia's second eldest brother and Henchman.
- Clifton Powell as Earl Latimore, Rasputia's third eldest brother and Henchman.
- Cuba Gooding Jr. as Deion Hughes, Kate's fiancé.
- Eddie Griffin as Pope Sweet Jesus, an ex-pimp and Norbit's friend.
- Katt Williams as Lord Have Mercy, Pope's sidekick and friend.
- Khamani Griffin as Young Norbit (age 5)
- Austin Reid as Young Norbit (age 10)
- Jonathan Robinson as Young Norbit (age 17)
- Floyd Levine as Abe, the tailor.
- Lindsey Sims-Lewis as Young Rasputia (age 10)
- Yves Lola St. Vil as Young Rasputia (age 17)
- China Anderson as young Kate (age 5)
- Anthony Russell as Sam Giovanni, the Italian owner of Giovanni's
- Pat Crawford Brown as Mrs. Henderson, an elderly woman
- Jeanette Miller as Mrs. Coleman, an elderly woman
- Michael Colyar as Morris, the barber
- Marlon Wayans as Buster "Bust-A-Move" Perkin, Rasputia's tap dancing instructor with whom Rasputia has an affair.
- Richard Gant as The Preacher
- Alexis Rhee as Mrs. Ling Ling Wong, Mr. Wong's wife
- Marianne Muellerleile as Helga, the epilator
- Kristen Schaal as Event Organizer
- John Gatins as Water park attendant
- Smith Cho as Deion's Asian wife
- Charlie Murphy (voice) as Lloyd the Dog, Mrs. Henderson's pet Pug dog (credited as Floyd the Dog)
- Tone Man as Narrator (voice)
Norbit was the first of three films where director Brian Robbins and Eddie Murphy worked together. They later collaborated for Meet Dave and A Thousand Words. In the case of the first two movies he starred in working with Robbins, Murphy did multiple characters and worked in body costumes.
Norbit was panned by critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 9%, based on 123 reviews, with the site's consensus reading, "Coming off his Oscar-nominated performance in Dreamgirls, the talented-but-inconsistent Eddie Murphy plays three roles in Norbit, a cruel, crass, stereotype-filled comedy that's more depressing than funny." Metacritic gave the movie a score of 27 out of 100, based on reviews from 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a B grade, with under eighteens (28% of those surveyed) giving it a B+ grade.
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the movie a positive review, suggesting that Norbit might help Murphy's chances of winning an Oscar for his role in Dreamgirls, saying that his work playing three distinct characters in Norbit is more impressive than anything he did in Dreamgirls. Others suggested it might hurt his chances. Ultimately, Alan Arkin won the award for Best Supporting Actor.
Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club gave the film a grade "F" and wrote: "It probably isn't possible for a single movie to reverse all social progress made since the civil-rights era, but Norbit, the latest broadside from Eddie Murphy, does its best to turn back the clock" and "hideously offensive black stereotypes are merely the tip of the iceberg."Josh Tyler of Cinemablend.com gave the movie a mostly negative review, in which he described parts of the film as "pretty despicable" and stated that "the plot relies on the idea that being fat also means you’re a horrible bitch." However, he pointed out that "some of it’s also kind of sweet. Eddie’s really quite good as Norbit, the character is sympathetic and funny. He has a strange sort of perfect chemistry with Thandie Newton, and that’s just not something I would have expected." Liz Braun of Jam! Movies described Norbit as "mostly blubber jokes about how fat Rasputia really is" but said that "the movie is not without genuine laughs. Most of those laughs are generated by the other actors." In regard to the "terrifying" character Rasputia, she went so far as to say that the film "tends to confirm one's worst suspicions about Murphy and what appears to be his general fear and loathing of women. The Rasputia gag gets a little freaky if you think about it too much. And you wouldn't want to dwell on how much Thandie Newton looks like a slender boy in her role as Norbit's true love, either. So don't."[permanent dead link]
Black activists took issue with Eddie Murphy's portrayal of the character Rasputia, calling Norbit "just the latest [film built] around a black man dressing up as an unsophisticated, overweight black woman."
Norbit was a success at the box office. It opened to $34.2 million in the United States, and was Eddie Murphy's 14th #1 box office opener. The film earned $95,673,607 at the North American domestic box office, and $63,639,954 in other markets, for a total of $159,313,561 worldwide. The film was released in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2007, and topped the country's box office for the next two weekends, before being overtaken by 300.
Norbit was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, and won three awards, all for Eddie Murphy as three different characters. The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup.
|Academy Award||Best Makeup||Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Picture||John Davis, Mike Tollin and Eddie Murphy||Nominated|
|Worst Director||Brian Robbins||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy||Nominated|
|Worst Actor||Cuba Gooding Jr.||Nominated|
|Eddie Murphy (as Norbit)||Won|
|Worst Supporting Actor||Eddie Murphy (as Mr. Wong)||Won|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Eddie Murphy (as Rasputia)||Won|
|Worst Screen Couple||Eddie Murphy (and either Eddie Murphy or Eddie Murphy)||Nominated|
- "Standing in the Safety Zone" – The Fairfield Four (2:41)
- "It's Goin' Down" – Yung Joc (4:03)
- "You Did" – Kate Earl feat. The Designated Hitters (2:26)
- "Sexual Healing" – Marvin Gaye
- "I Only Want to Be with You" – Dusty Springfield (2:37)
- "Milkshake" – Kelis (3:04)
- "Shoppin' for Clothes" – The Coasters (2:58)
- "Walk It Out" – Unk (2:54)
- "Looking for You" – Kirk Franklin (4:06)
- "Sweet Honey" – Slightly Stoopid (3:52)
- "The Hands of Time" – Perfect Circle (6:19)
- "Young Norbit" – David Newman (3:33)
- "Queen of Whores" – David Newman (:46)
- "Kate Returns"/"Tuesday, Tuesday" – David Newman (3:24)
- "Norbit Sneaks Out" – David Newman (:33)
- "Rasputia's Fury" – David Newman (1:44)
- "Norbit and Kate" – David Newman (:55)
Several songs were used in the film which do not appear on the soundtrack album, in order of appearance:
- "You Are the Woman", performed by Firefall
- "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher", performed by Jackie Wilson
- "Don't Cha", performed by The Pussycat Dolls
The song "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" is sung at Norbit and Rasputia's wedding party, but likewise does not appear on the soundtrack album.
- "Norbit". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com.
- "Norbit (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media.
- Norbit at Metacritic
- Kilday, Gregg (February 13, 2007). "Murphy laugher 'Norbit' in orbit with $34.2 mil bow". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Mick LaSalle (February 9, 2007). "MOVIE REVIEWS / He can sing, he can dance. But mostly he likes fat suits". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Braxton, Greg; Welkos, Robert W. (February 8, 2007). "Is this what a future Oscar winner looks like?". Los Angeles Times.
- Tobias, Scott. "Norbit". The A.V. Club. The Onion.
- Tyler, Josh. "Norbit Review". Cinemablend.com. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Braun, Liz. "'Norbit' a one big misogynist gag". Jam!. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
- Nicole Sperling (February 12, 2007). "'Norbit' take hefty at $33.7 mil". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Weekend box office 9th March 2007 – 11th March 2007". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "Weekend box office 16th March 2007 – 18th March 2007". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "Weekend box office 23rd March 2007 – 25th March 2007". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "Norbit gains three wins at Razzies". Razzies.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-10.
- Academy Award Nominations
- Norbit SOUNDTRACK amazon.com
- Norbit – Original Soundtrack allmusic.com