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Meet Dave


Stars: Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union, Scott Caan, Ed Helms, Kevin Hart, Mike O'Malley, Pat Kilbane, Judah Friedlander, Marc Blucas, Jim Turner, Austin Lind Myers

Director: Brian Robbins

A spaceship crashes nose first into the ground by the Statue of Liberty. So far, so formula science-fiction – except that the human-sized ship is made in the humanoid image of its miniscule captain Murphy who, clad in an anachronistic 1970s-style gleaming white suit (later exemplified by him strutting the sidewalk to ‘Staying Alive’) ventures into Manhattan on his Earth-demolishing mission to find a mysterious object from space in this certainly silly but surprisingly funny (providing you enjoy deliberately coarse humour) fish-out-of-water science fiction comedy.

Much of the comedy is physical, as mini-Murphy and his fellow crew members attempt to direct Spaceship Eddie’s actions and conversations, leading to plenty of surreal physical comedy and equally bizarre action. Being hit by Banks in her car turns out to be the catalyst for Spaceship Eddie undergoing a steep learning curve after befriending Banks and her young son Myers, creating strange metamorphoses in his crew in the process and, naturally, finally saving the Earth…

Comic asides (taste dictates that I omit the ruder, regrettably laugh-inducing inventions) add to the fun. Earth’s ‘planetary database’ turns out to be Google, the template for white-suited spaceship Murphy is TV’s Fantasy Island and, mistaken for a supply teacher, he instantly fills the blackboard with the Unified Field Theory, fortunately ignores the instruction from the ship to “Vaporise that child” when a pupil misbehaves, and, after an outburst of salsa, earns Banks’ commendation with “I should have known you were an alien. No straight man is that good a dancer”.

I imagine nobody, including Murphy, director Robbins and all involved, would claim Meet Dave has any mission other than to cheerfully, if crudely, entertain. Which, especially after recent Murphy disasters like Norbit, it does. All right, I’m ashamed, but I found myself laughing much more than I should be willing to admit.

Alan Frank

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 15 Jul 2008