Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Woody Allen Meets Tron with all the laffs of the latter

Meet Dave (2008)

Remember that old Woody Allen movie, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask? (You know, back when Woody was FUNNY.) Remember the sequence (scroll to 5:10 mark; the Spanish sub-titles make it even funnier) where he goes on a date with a woman and has sex with her and we see what goes on inside him, the inner workings of his body? The brain is a computer control room manned by, among others, Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, and the guy from Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (who also voiced Aquaman on Superfriends)? They call out orders to the eyes and the ears. The guys in the stomach have to brace themselves to receive dinner, fettuccine (their succinct response, “JESUS CHRIST!”). When Woody and the girl start to have sex in the car, we see the hard-hat wearing burly construction worker-types in the Erection Room. And of course, we see the little white sperm paratroopers, including Woody (and a very confused black guy among them). Meet Dave is just a watered-down-for-kids rip-off of Woody's movie.

That ten minute sequence above is funnier than Eddie Murphy’s entire movie, where he plays a one inch tall alien who captains a human-sized robot/spaceship that on the outside looks like Eddie Murphy. They’ve come to Earth to absorb all the salt from our oceans to save their dying planet. Humans will all die in the process, but hey, we're just a bunch of giant barbarians to them.

Meet Dave has a few scattered laughs, mostly recalling other, better, Murphy bits from either SNL or movies like Coming to America. You know, when Murphy actually cared about being funny. I think writers on Eddie Murphy movies are under the impression Murphy will do some wild improv, like a Robin Williams, Jim Carrey or Chris Tucker, and save their sorry-ass movies. But Murphy is an ACTOR not an improv guy (ever see him on a talk show, he’s quiet and shy, not wild and crazy). When he has a character to work with, as in The Nutty Professor where he played SIX characters, he’s fine and often hysterical, but when he plays a version of himself as he often does in "family movies" such as this one, he sucks.

This movie is pretty plot heavy. Here's a rundown:

1. Spaceship Dave has to find the orb that will de-saltify the Earth and save their planet.
2. Dave befriends Josh, the "smallest fifth grader in New York" and becomes his only real friend and mentor.
3. Josh's widowed mother, played by the lovely Elizabeth Banks, spends time with Dave after hitting him with her car. You can see her growing attracted to him as the family goes to a carnival and Dave takes her salsa dancing on her birthday.
4. Marc Blucas appears as a pseudo love interest for Banks.
5. Scott Caan and the guy from that lousy sitcom which ran for far too long* (and I don't mean According to Jim) are a pair of cops that investigate Dave's face-first arrival (shades of Mork!) at Liberty Island.
6. Josh is constantly tormented by a fat ass bully at school.
7. Dave's Number 3/Communications Officer played by hottie Gabrielle Union has the unrequited, well, hots for the Captain of Dave.
8. Dave's crew is affected by the time on Earth and its exposure to our customs and, especially, family friendly hip hop and R&B culture.
9. Dave is in danger of running out of power (get me Scotty on the horn!) as he/it performs his/its mission.
10. A thoroughly wasted Ed Helm in the Tim Curry bastard-traitor role as Dave's Number Two threatens to take over the ship and complete their mission - humans, and his own Captain, be damned (sorry, it's a kid's movie, make that DARNED)!

The movie easily could have dumped at least two of those sub-plots: Marc Blucas was obviously supposed to be a love interest for the mom, but since Dave wasn't going to hook them up - and the mom looked like she was falling for Dave anyway - get rid of that one. Same goes for the pointless scenes with the cops - one a believer in UFOs, the other a meathead moron; they meant nothing to the story so they should have been eighty-sixed.

To show you how little the filmmakers cared about their limp, over-plotted story, the aliens ultimately find humans worthy and decide not to destroy the Earth. But they STILL need salt to save their dying planet, which is the reason they came here in the first place. As they warp away from Earth, Murphy says, “We’ll find the salt we need somewhere else.” “Somewhere else?” A better movie would have somehow resolved the alien’s issue at the end. Not this one.

So find a better movie somewhere else.

Oh, and for further proof that Meet Dave is just a lame copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know… one of the tiny robo-spaceship crew, played by MADtv’s Pat Kilbane, has a thick head of black hair and a big moustache, just like Burt Reynolds sports in Woody’s movie.

* Mike O'Malley from Yes, Dear (which ran for six fucking seasons!)

1 comment:

  1. "Yes, Dear"...hmmmm...

    Funny how a show can be on TV for 6 years and I've never heard of it. Not much of a Network guy I guess.

    That being said "Family Guy" had a really funny side-riff once about TV shows nobody ever watched but ran for ages (in this case "Wings"). Quagmire mentions "Wings" to the guys during a night out at the Drunken Clam and is met with blank expressions. Quagmire can't believe that nobody's heard of the show and in exasperation tries to get someone to remember it ("Come on!! It started Tony Shalhoub's career!! It ran for ten years!! I don't even know you guys.)