Norbit (2007)

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Released 26-Jun-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Man of 1,000 Faces
Featurette-Power Tap
Featurette-The Stunts of Norbit
Deleted Scenes
Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 97:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:49) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brian Robbins
Studio
Distributor
Dreamworks
Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Eddie Murphy
Thandie Newton
Terry Crews
Clifton Powell
Mighty Rasta
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Eddie Griffin
Katt Williams
Floyd Levine
Anthony Russell
Pat Crawford Brown
Jeanette Miller
Michael Colyar
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music David Newman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
English
Dutch
Swedish
Norwegian
Finnish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After being abandoned to Wong's Wonton Restaurant and Orphanage as a newborn, the bookish Norbit (Eddie Murphy, when he grows up) was an unlucky child. His only friend, Kate was adopted and taken away from him at a fairly young age. After that, he was constantly bullied until the biggest and scariest gal in the playground, Rasputia (also played by Murphy when she grows up), decided to defend him and make Norbit her boyfriend. The relationship grew, as did Rasputia, and Norbit went on to marry Rasputia years later - much to his surrogate father Mr Wong's disappointment (Mr. Wong is also Murphy under silicone). Norbit also works as a bookkeeper for Rasputia's thuggish brothers' construction company.

    Cut to the present day, and a disenchanted Norbit catches Rasputia cheating on him with her tap-dancing gym instructor (this character is played by Marlon Wayans though!). Rasputia denies the affair and Norbit is fearful of leaving her. Coincidentally, shortly thereafter Kate (who has blossomed into a rather delicious Thandie Newton) arrives in town, much to Norbit's disappointment bringing a fiance named Deion (in the form of Cuba Gooding, Jr). Kate is planning to take over Mr Wong's orphanage. The gold-digging Deion and Rasputia's crooked brothers soon hatch a plan to take over the land and re-develop it as a nudie bar. Bottom-of-the-barrel fat jokes and racist "humour" ensue as Norbit and Kate get together and save the day.

    Norbit is the latest misstep in Eddie Murphy's erratic career. Save for the nigh on unwatchable The Adventures of Pluto Nash, it is probably his biggest misstep. The general concept should be enough for a no-brainer comedy pitched at the great unwashed masses - nerdy doofus tormented by a morbidly obese woman, played by the same actor playing the doofus, finds love - but Norbit manages to fall short of even this modest target. If you can get past the misguided racism of Murphy's Mr Wong character, whose throwback schtick is akin to someone like Jim Carrey relaunching his career in blackface (if the r's instead of l's routine isn't enough, Murphy seems incapable of differentiating between Chinese and Japanese), there are a handful of amusing moments in the first half of the movie. The second half has virtually no momentum, or jokes, to help it limp to the closing credits. The amusing moments are enough to cut a funny trailer, but don't let it tempt you to watch any more of this cinematic disaster. Anyone sympathetic at Murphy's recent Oscar snub for his acclaimed role in Dreamgirls need look no further than Norbit to reassure themselves that it was deserved.

    The tag-line on the cover of Norbit is Have you ever made a really big mistake? Don't. Leave this one on the shelf.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, slightly fuller than the original 1.85:1 aspect, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video quality is rather disappointing for a recent release by a major studio. It is not awful, but certainly is sub-par.

    The image is quite soft and a little grainy throughout the feature. The colours appear a little washed out and pale. There is reasonable detail in darker areas, but blacks look more like dark greys and what should be garish, bold colours are quite flat.

    Numerous video artefacts are present in the transfer, many seem to stem from the soft video (which is likely the result of poor telecine job). There is noticeable pixelation on numerous occasions, particularly during scenes with a lot of movement (eg 25:08, 50:40, 76:00). The soft picture has led to a mild Gibb effect noticeable around text, such as at 14:21 and the closing credits. Edge enhancement is quite noticeable in some scenes, particularly those that feature multiple characters played by Murphy. Film artefacts are occasionally noticeable (eg at 77:18).

    The English subtitles provided appear accurate and well timed, based on the portion I sampled.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs mid-scene at 71:49, though not during dialogue, but was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio fares significantly better than the video on this release, but is not without faults.

    The film features one English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) audio track.

    Dialogue appears to be well synchronized throughout the feature and is at a level in the mix such that is reasonable clear and easy to understand. There is some distortion noticeable on a few occasions when characters yell (eg. 85:14), however.

    The music in the film is a fairly standard fairy-tale comedy score. The dynamic range is reasonable as is the mixing, though it is not crystal clear.

    The surrounds are put to decent use throughout the film and do enhance the humour and the atmosphere of the film in general. The subwoofer is put to good effect on a number of occasions, though only for booms and thumps rather than delicate use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

The Making of Norbit Featurette (20:42)

    A reasonably lengthy "Making Of" featurette that seems more designed at selling the movie to an audience than explaining much about the development process. It is quite superficial and broad, features a little too much Eddie Murphy worship, but is not too bad as far as press-kit style featurettes go.

Man of 1,000 Faces Featurette (4:07)

    An interesting look at the process of creating the three characters Eddie Murphy plays in the film. This includes an interesting, but brief, look at Rick Baker's prosthetics and makeup work, how scenes were filmed so that multiple Murphy characters could appear on screen at once, and how Murphy developed the characters.

Power Tap Featurette (4:38)

    A short mock-infomercial for Power Tap, the tap dancing inspired workout class (think Tai Bo, only with tap instead of boxing) developed by Marlon Wayans' character.

The Stunts of Norbit Featurette (11:24)

    A featurette on some of the stunt work in the film that is slightly longer than it needs to be. No revelations to be found here, but some moderately interesting bits and pieces.

Deleted Scenes (8:07)

    14 deleted scenes, many of which are really just the odd extra line in scenes that are in the final movie. Nothing terribly funny in this lot, but there is a fairly different take on how Norbit and Rasputia "decided" to get married.

Photo Gallery

    A routine photo gallery feature with stills form the film and backstage.

Theatrical Trailer (1:49)

    Norbit cuts a pretty decent trailer - plenty of sight gags thrown together make the finished product look a lot better than it actually is. The video transfer on the trailer is better than that of the feature to boot.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 and Region 4 editions of Norbit are identical in terms of content, with the exception of subtitles and Audio tracks. Region 4 misses out on Spanish subtitles and a French audio track, whereas Region 1 misses Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish subtitles. This comparison is pretty much a draw.

Summary

    The tag-line on the cover of Norbit is Have you ever made a really big mistake? Don't. Leave this one on the shelf.

    Norbit is a terrible movie. Not Eddie Murphy's worst, but a far cry from even his more mundane recent family films. Parts of the movie are offensively racist, and not in the "laughing at racism" manner that South Park pulls off so well - this is a genuine throwback to the 1930s. Maybe it could have gotten away with it if there had been enough jokes to sustain the brief runtime, but the laughs are few and far between in Norbit.

    The extras package is decent in size and fair in quality, but that means little when the feature is so dull.

    The video presentation is sub-par for any DVD, especially a recent movie. The audio quality is fair.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using S-Video output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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