Adventures of Pluto Nash, The

Reviewed By wintermute
Posted 11/18/02 11:59:27

"Actually soothed my urge to punch Eddie Murphy in the mouth"
3 stars (Just Average)

Yes, it finally happened. Eddie Murphy, that prodigiously gifted funny man from the 80's released a movie where he: A - Didn't play every role himself, B - Didn't wear a fat suit, and C - Didn't make me want to punch him in the mouth.

Impossible you say? I thought so too, until on a late night urge I mustered up my courage and went to see probably the only film about gambling on the Moon I am going to be lucky enough to see this year.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash does what few Murphy vehicles have managed to accomplish in the last 5 or 6 years - it trades upon the fantastic charisma of a very likeable man. Gone are the crude jokes, abrasive self-interest and RIDICULOUS FAT SUITS. In their place we find a cool, confident and capable character, Pluto Nash, reformed smuggler and night club owner. It is impossible not to at least feel a little affinity for Nash, the self-made man. Throw in a kind heart, (he takes in Rosario Dawson's character under the flimsiest of pretenses) and an aging robotic bodyguard/sidekick (played with surprising wit and warmth by Randy Quaid) and there's no telling where their wacky adventures will end!

Well, ok. The 'wacky adventures' are less Space Mountain and more Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. But that's not to say that we don't get to have a little fun with Nash and Co. A side trip to a secret Lunar smuggling stash and a few shootouts later, we get treated to the ultimate in star vanity - Eddie Murphy fighting his 'evil' clone. Now if this film had been made in 1992, Eddie probably would have just gotten freaky with his 'bad' self, but the newer, less self-infatuated Murphy manages to limit physical contact with his clone to punches and headlocks. And really, that's more than I could say for Tom Cruise in a similar situation.

Rosario Dawson is once again inexplicably cast as the withering damsel in distress. While I am not a huge fan, a spirit like hers is more readily encapsulated by a character capable of doing more than flinching and screaming on cue. Randy Quaid, however, displays a stunning versatility as a robot whose day has come and gone, and who everybody knows is kept around for sentimentality's sake.

I know what you're saying. Where are the talking animals? Where is the good cop / bad cop? Hold on! For those of you only interested in the weird side of Eddie's script choices, you are in for a treat with the casting of the bionic, keep-her-away-from-mirrors Pam Grier as Pluto Nash's moon-smart mother. How the Sun's unfiltered rays don't break down her 300 year old skin I can't tell you. But somehow, nature finds a way.

For all the haters, don't bother. If you are already down on Eddie, nothing in this film to change your mind. But if you used to like Mr. Murphy, and then got scared by his MJ like lifestyle and script choices, give him a break, and go enjoy Pluto Nash. Really.

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