There really is something truly spectacular about a bad movie. Surely the makers of Meet Dave didn’t start out intending to make a bad movie. They probably thought they couldn’t lose: Eddie Murphy doing broad physical comedy in the lead, a family-friendly special effects movie with people from outer space, a racially diverse cast to ensure maximum turnout in the various demographics, and Brian Robbins who, along with Murphy, brought the embarrassing hit Norbit to the big screen; if Meet Dave was going to fail, it would fail with the critics, but the public would gobble it up.
This time, though, the public smartly stayed away. Meet Dave will go down as one of the year’s biggest bombs. Is it that crowds are opting out of wasting their money on something they know will be okay but won’t really be good? There is no telling what people will pay money to see, but we can now say with a good degree of certainty that it wasn’t Meet Dave.
The film has funny moments here and there, which makes it all the more depressing when it fails on the whole to bring off its own objective. It tells the story of miniature humans who plummet to Earth in order to retrieve a little orb that landed some time before and was picked up by a human boy (Austyn Myers) who is living with his single mother (Elizabeth Banks). The miniature humans construct a life-size human spaceship that looks just like the ship’s captain (also played by Murphy).
Naturally, the single mom and son need rescuing – don’t worry, there’s an appropriate (white) neighbor who is just about to step up to the plate. Murphy and the boy are there to save the day, per the kind of man/child buddy movie formula that has become so popular lately. Did someone really buy the pitch for Meet Dave thinking that all Eddie Murphy had to do was contort himself and say “Welcome to Old Navy” repeatedly and the public would turn out in droves? How sad.
One thing that has always baffled me is when beings who are supposed to be light years beyond us, intelligence-wise, end up doing something as stupid as thinking they could construct a machine that really would fool the humans. If they were that stupid they’d never be able to fly through space, for starters.
Then again, this isn’t supposed to be a realistic film but rather one that is an opportunity for Murphy to mug and contort himself while hilarity ensues. The problem is that it just isn’t funny. It ends up being just a grand waste of talent, time, and money. It was so bad, apparently, that Murphy didn’t even show up when it came time to promote the film, though they did manage to drive a giant head of Eddie Murphy around town to drum up interest.
The actors are fine for what they are required to do, particularly Gabriella Union, who plays the smart but overlooked love interest. Unforgivable in the movie is the really offensive homosexual stereotype put in for instant laughs. Surely we’ve moved beyond this. This is exactly the kind of film that will drive audiences away from theaters in the summer months for the right reasons at exactly the wrong time.