Quite Literally an Eddie Murphy Vehicle
Back in the 80s Eddie Murphy was funny, he was edgy, lively and his style of in your face loud comedy worked but times have changed and so have tastes and that style of humour is no longer what audiences seem to want. What that means is that after scoring a success at the end of the 90s with a family comedy Eddie Murphy has found himself as the almost go to man for PG comedies, simple comedies aimed at the family audience. But it is a waste of Murphy's talent and as such watching him in the ultimately dull "Meet Dave" is a sad experience of a comedian who almost seems like he is there to collect the pay check rather than really caring about the movie. Yet ironically it is Murphy who is the best thing about this fish out of water comedy which basically takes the play book and works through it.
3 months after a small orb from outer space lands in the bedroom of young Josh Morrison (Austyn Myers) a spaceship in the form of a human lands near the Statue of Liberty. Manned by tiny Aliens they are here to find the orb and use it to extract the salt from the sea which they need as fuel for their planet destroying the Earth in the process. But as they start their search the spaceship is accidentally hit by a car being driven by Josh's mum Gina (Elizabeth Banks - Definitely, Maybe) and as the aliens try to keep the truth hidden that she has knocked over a spacecraft they witness how mankind isn't totally bad, especially there Captain (Eddie Murphy - Norbit) who much to the annoyance of his No. 3 (Gabrielle Union) grows fond of Gina.
To put it simply "Meet Dave" is a fish out of water comedy, we may have a storyline about mini aliens arriving on Earth to retrieve an orb which could destroy the planet if they so wanted, but that is not the focus. Instead we have the comedy of them arriving in a spaceship which looks like a human and with little knowledge of how people live these mini aliens try their best to imitate mankind. That basically means plenty of visual gags as they try and control their human spacecraft so it walks and looks like a human whilst also learning how to sound like a human. And that to be honest is what "Meet Dave" trades on, the bog standard fish out of water.
Now there is more to "Meet Dave" than just this, we have a text book romantic element, some child bonding, some cheesy campness as well as these little aliens who are initially cold to mankind but warm to us. But none of it is that good and whilst all of the humour is aimed at a young market it is quite lame. I think I found myself laughing once in the entire movie which even for a family movie aimed at the younger market is not right.
What is for certain is that Eddie Murphy is the best thing about "Meet Dave" with him yet again playing more that one role, that of the alien captain and the actual spacecraft Dave. It is such a routine performance from Murphy with obligatory mugging to the camera arriving every few minutes or so and for those who remember how funny Murphy was back in the 80s it is disappointing. But Murphy is the best thing and the rest of the cast which includes Gabrielle Union, Elizabeth Banks and Ed Helms look seriously uncomfortable in such a dull movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Meet Dave" is basically another disappointing movie with Eddie Murphy almost seeming to be on auto pilot as he delivers family friendly humour which isn't very funny. Maybe really young children will find some of it funny but for those who remember how funny Eddie Murphy was back in the 80s will only feel disappointing.