At some point most comedians run out of funny. When this time approaches, one of two things happens: Option one, the comedian quits comedy and tries to become a "serious" actor. This has become quite trendy in recent years with funnymen like Jim Carey and Robin Williams turning out Oscar bids year after year. Option two, the comedian never realizes that he is no longer funny, or simply doesn't care, and continues accepting paychecks to make people laugh, not caring or not noticing that the audience is no longer laughing. Eddie Murphy has slid quite comfortably into Option two.
He's out to prove his station again, this time in the outer-space adventure/comedy The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Murphy plays the title character, a nightclub owner named Pluto who just happens to live on the moon. Mobsters move in and put out a hit on Nash. So he, along with his hulkingly humorous robot body guard (Randy Quaid) and newest hired employee (Rosario Dawson) set out to seek revenge on the maniacal moon mobster who plagues them.
I’m really not sure why Pluto Nash is set on the moon. There is little visible in the movie that does much to differentiate it from any other Las Vegas clone. Shots of the moon itself are non-existent, space suits are in short supply, and apparently space ships have been inexplicably replaced with luxury hover cars showcasing the animated head of John Cleese in yet another throwaway role. Pluto Nash could have just as easily been set in New York, or Las Vegas, or even Iowa for that matter. The fact that it is set in space rarely comes up, except when one of the characters realizes he might need a space-suit or a helmet. It is however comforting to know that even decades into the future, fashion will have changed so little that I’ll be able to get unlimited use out of my current 2002 wardrobe.
I can’t honestly tell you that Eddie’s latest is even all that new. It’s a story we’ve all seen before with a twist ending so overused and overdone that everyone, including Eddie, has used it at least twice. Man versus the mob… ON THE MOON! It could have at least been funny. Randy Quaid tries, but no one seems to care. His character “Bruno”, Pluto Nash’s outdated robot bodyguard, is the only source of laughter, life, or energy in the entire film. He’s so good, I’d love to see more of him, but only if the character can somehow be transported into a better movie.
By contrast, Murphy phones in another one, just as he’s done in every film he stumbles into these days. Rosario Dawson at least proves consistent, delivering yet another lost and vapid performance. She certainly has a knack for appearing awkward. At least she isn’t soiling good movies with it.
Pluto Nash is not a good comedy in space. Pluto Nash is barely in space. It’s a waste of time and a blatant rip-off of better movies without the good graces to even attempt to be funny. It’s not really painful to watch, since Randy Quaid sparkles enough to keep things interesting. But at some point, Eddie Murphy should take a hint and consider trying something else.