Having never really been a fan of Eddie Murphy’s acting (I admittedly did like Raw when it came out) I’m not surprised at what is happening to his career. Basically this big star has become an also ran who makes bad film after bad film. While this is not the worst of the films on his resume (Hello Meet Dave and Norbit) it certainly is not one that will get him to the top of any director’s list either.
It has all the elements that we’ve seen Eddie Murphy do time and time again. There is plenty of physical, slapstick comedy and him talking a mile a minute. Nothing groundbreaking for him as an actor. So I ask myself “why does he continue doing films like this?” The only answers I can come up with are: the money and these are the only films he is offered. Either way it is sad.
Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) is a slick man. That serves him well in his job as a book agent. He uses his gift for the gab and his assertion that he can talk anybody into anything to his benefit. When his ability to speak is taken away it is like watching a bird without wings. Jack is completely lost.
The latest in a long line of spiritual or New Age leaders is Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis – Live Free or Die Hard, Training Day). He has written a book and Jack and his boss Samantha (Allison Janney – American Beauty, Juno) are dying to sign him. Samantha sends her number one man out (Jack, of course!) to do the job. To land this big fish, Jack pretends that he is a totally spiritual being and especially in touch with trees. This seems to win Dr. Sinja over and he agrees to sign with Jack’s company.
On top of the world Jack is and then it all comes tumbling down. First, a slight problem is that he finds out that Dr. Sinja’s book is a mere five pages. How can he sell that to a publishing company? And the second problem is when the same tree that he claimed to be so in touch with appears in his back yard. Soon enough, Jack and Dr. Sinja realize that a leaf falls off the tree with every word that Jack speaks. There are only a thousand leaves on the tree. What happens to a tree when it loses all its leaves….right…and that is not good. Jack is now “connected” to the tree and when all the leaves are gone so is Jack.
After about a dozen facial contortions and slick lines I had seen and heard enough. It got so bad that I wanted the leaves to fall off the tree faster. You knew from the get go what was going to happen and the work up was not worth 91 minutes of my life. Not insulting, just boring.