Meet Dave (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Run Time 92 minutes.
You reap what you sow. This is
a truth for poor Eddie Murphy. He has made so many unfunny movies that
when he finally comes out with a good one, nobody comes. I didn’t go to
the screening for this, so when a dinner engagement cancelled Saturday
night, my date and I went to see Eddie’s new movie on its opening
weekend in Westwood, generally a hotbed for movies. At the 7:10 p.m.
showing, there were, by actual count, 15 people in the theater,
including the two of us. To make our visit eminently worse, Avco
Cinema’s projector malfunctioned during the screening and we were forced
to view about 20 minutes with the frame misaligned, so the bottom of the
picture was on the top and the top on the bottom. This also resulted in
the boom microphone showing up at the top of the actors’ heads. Poor
Eddie can’t catch a break.
It’s too bad because this is a
funny, inventive movie. Dave (Murphy) is a life size robot/space ship,
operated by the Captain (also Murphy). While Dave is life size, the
Captain and his crew are only one inch tall. The crew lives in Dave’s
body (their spaceship) and operates various parts of his body while the
captain communicates for Dave, providing his voice. Dave has flown to
earth from a far away planet to steal our salt water to save their
planet, which would doom Earth. They sent a small probe to get the
water, but it was misdirected into the fish bowl of Josh Morrison (Austyn
the teenaged son of Gina Morrison (the
indescribably gorgeous Elizabeth Banks, who gives another scintillating
performance). Dave needs to find the probe so it can suck all our salt
water out to take to their planet.
Murphy gives a wonderful
performance as the robot Dave and his captain. Watching Dave try to
figure out how to mingle among earthlings without being noticed as an
alien provides Murphy with some hilarious moments. Captain also has a
problem with his No. 2 (Ed Helms, in a terrific performance), who
doesn’t agree with the way the captain is handling the situation.
Meanwhile, back in Dave’s world, Dave comes to the attention of the
NYPD, Dooley (Scott Caan, who is a dead ringer for his movie star
father) and Knox (Mike O’Malley). Dooley thinks Dave is an alien, so
endures much scoffing disbelief from Knox.
This inventive script and
story (Rob Greenberg & Bill Corbett) is ably directed by Brian Robbins,
who has created a light-hearted, unique, funny film out of a premise
that could have been ludicrous in less talented hands. Even though
Dave’s mission will doom Earth, Robbins has us rooting for Dave and his
protectors, Josh and Gina. If you like to smile and laugh, this is
July 12, 2008