Norbit is a 2007 American romantic comedy film directed by Brian Robbins, and written and produced by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the film. It was released by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures on February 9, 2007.
The film features a collaboration between Terry Crews and Marlon Wayans, reuniting them for the first time since 2004's White Chicks.
| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
Norbit Albert Rice (Eddie Murphy) and Kate Thomas (Thandie Newton) are best friends as children at a combination Chinese restaurant and orphanage owned by their father figure, Mr. Wong (Eddie Murphy), but they are separated when Kate gets adopted.
While being bullied by twins on a playground one day, Norbit is saved by a tough, overweight girl named Rasputia Latimore (Eddie Murphy) who scares him into being her boyfriend.
Even though at first she genuinely likes Norbit and cares about him, going as far as intimidating other kids into letting Norbit play with them. Rasputia's kindness deteriorates as she grows up to be an ignorant, arrogant, vindictive, and mean-spirited woman. She eventually pressures Norbit into marrying her and bullies, insults & controls him to make sure that she keeps him all to herself.
Norbit is also belittled by Rasputia's older brothers, Big Black Jack (Terry Crews), Blue (Lester 'Rasta' Speight) and Earl (Clifton Powell), working as a bookkeeper at their local construction company.
The Latimore brothers also run a "security business" and instill fear in everyone in the town except Mr. Wong, who refuses to sell his establishment to them. When Norbit realizes that Rasputia is cheating on him with her dance instructor Buster Perkin (Marlon Wayans), she carelessly brushes it off like nothing happened. Norbit vents out his anger over Rasputia's infidelity at a puppet show for the children at the orphanage.
Unexpectedly, during the show, Norbit sees Kate for the first time since childhood. Stunned by her return, his affection for her reignites while he learns that she is buying Mr. Wong's orphanage, but he is disappointed to find out that she is now engaged to Deion Hughes (Cuba Gooding, Jr.).
With the help from his two ex-pimp friends Pope Sweet Jesus (Eddie Griffin) and Lord Have Mercy (Katt Williams) and the other townspeople, Norbit manages to meet with Kate without Rasputia's knowledge.
Revealed to be a crooked businessman and gold digger, Deion helps the Latimore brothers in their plan to turn the restaurant/orphanage into a strip club to get a cut in the profit. The Latimore brothers dupe Norbit into getting Kate to sign papers to renew the restaurant's liquor license and put it in the Latimores' name. Norbit's meeting with Kate leads to him helping her rehearse her wedding, where a kiss between the two of them causes her to reconsider the marriage.
When Norbit returns home, he learns that Rasputia somehow witnessed the whole thing and she threatens to kill Kate if she ever sees Norbit with her again. Kate confronts Norbit after finding out about the deal and sees him in the window of the basement, where he has been locked away by a vengeful Rasputia. Norbit tells Kate that he doesn't care what the Latimores are going to do and demands that she leave, in an attempt to drive her away to save her from Rasputia.
Rasputia adds that Norbit played Kate and has been setting her up since the first day she came back to town. Fed up with the stress he is under, Norbit decides to leave town for good, but first tries to warn Kate about Deion, but she ignores him.
After that, the Latimores have him locked in the basement again and Blue is chosen to stay and keep him from escaping. After the other Latimores leave to go to the wedding, Norbit escapes from the basement and past Blue's guard and races to the church on his bike.
Even though the Latimores attempt to stop him, Norbit reaches the church. Unfortunately, his proof of Deion's divorce settlements exposing Deion's gold digging were destroyed in the process, due to his falling in a pond while escaping the Latimores. However, Deion's ex-wives and children arrive in person as Norbit had arranged to provide further proof of Deion's wrongdoings.
Furious that their plans are ruined, the Latimore brothers attempt to kill Norbit before finding the townspeople rallying up against them.
Rasputia fights her way through the crowd and almost kills Norbit, but she runs off after being harpooned in the buttocks by Mr. Wong. Her brothers are chased out of town. After Kate avows her love for Norbit with a passionate kiss, the two reconcile.
Kate and Norbit buy the orphanage and get married under the same tree where they once played as children. Rasputia and her brothers move to Mexico and open up El Nipplopolis where Rasputia becomes their most popular and lucrative stripper.
- Eddie Murphy as: Norbit Albert Rice, a shy but lovable nerd; Rasputia Latimore, a morbidly obese, overpossessive, and arrogant woman, who is Norbit's wife; Mr. Hangten Wong, the owner of the orphanage where Norbit and Kate grew up.
- Khamani Griffin as young Norbit (age 5)
- Austin Reid as young Norbit (age 10)
- Jonathan Robinson as young Norbit (age 17)
- Lindsey Sims-Lewis as young Rasputia (age 10)
- Yves Lola St. Vil as young Rasputia (age 17)
- Thandie Newton as Kate Thomas, Norbit's friend, in whom he has a romantic interest.
- China Anderson as young Kate (age 5)
- Terry Crews as Big Black Jack, Rasputia's eldest brother.
- Clifton Powell as Earl, Rasputia's youngest brother.
- Lester 'Rasta' Speight as Blue, Rasputia's middle brother.
- Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Deion Hughes, Kate's fiancé who has several children with different mothers.
- Eddie Griffin as Pope Sweet Jesus, an ex-pimp and Norbit's friend.
- Katt Williams as Lord Have Mercy, Pope's sidekick and friend.
- Floyd Levine as Abe, the tailor.
- Anthony Russell as Sam Giovanni, the Italian owner of Giovanni's.
- Pat Crawford Brown as Mrs. Henderson, an elderly woman.
- Jeanette Miller as Mrs. Coleman, an elderly woman.
- Michael Colyar as Morris, the barber.
- Marlon Wayans as Buster "Bust-A-Move" Perkin, Rasputia's tap dancing instructor with whom Rasputia has an affair.
- Alexis Rhee as Mrs. Ling Ling Wong, Mr. Wong's wife.
- Kristen Schaal as Event Organizer
- Charlie Murphy (voice) as Lloyd the Dog, Mrs. Henderson's pet pug dog (credited as Floyd the Dog)
In the case of the first two movies he starred in working with Robbins, Murphy did multiple characters and worked in body costumes.
"Norbit" was a success at the box office. It opened to $34.2 million in the United States and was Eddie Murphy's 14th #1 box office opener.
The film earned $95,673,607 at the North American domestic box office and $63,639,954 in other markets, for a total of $159,313,561 worldwide.
Despite its box office success, "Norbit" was nearly universally panned, given only a few positive reviews upon its release.
The Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 9% positive reviews, based on 123 critics (11 positive, 112 negative).
The site's consensus states: "Coming off his Oscar-nominated performance in Dreamgirls, the talented-but-inconsistent Eddie Murphy plays three roles in Norbit, a cruel, crass, stereotype-filled comedy that's more depressing than funny."
Metacritic gave the movie a score of 27% based on 26 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the movie a positive review, suggesting that "Norbit" might help Murphy's chances of winning an Oscar for his role in Dreamgirls, saying that his work playing three distinct characters in Norbit is more impressive than anything he did in "Dreamgirls."
Others suggested it might hurt his chances, but ultimately, Alan Arkin won the award for "Best Supporting Actor."
Josh Tyler of Cinemablend.com gave the movie a mostly negative review, in which he described parts of the film as "pretty despicable" and stated that "the plot relies on the idea that being fat also means you’re a horrible bitch."
However, he pointed out that "some if it’s also kind of sweet. Eddie’s really quite good as Norbit, the character is sympathetic and funny. He has a strange sort of perfect chemistry with Thandie Newton, and that’s just not something I would have expected."
In another mostly negative review, Liz Braun of Jam! Movies described Norbit as "mostly blubber jokes about how fat Rasputia really is" but said that "the movie is not without genuine laughs. Most of those laughs are generated by the other actors." In regard to the "terrifying" character Rasputia, she went so far as to say that the film "tends to confirm one's worst suspicions about Murphy and what appears to be his general fear and loathing of women. The Rasputia gag gets a little freaky if you think about it too much. And you wouldn't want to dwell on how much Thandie Newton looks like a slender boy in her role as Norbit's true love, either. So don't."
Some black activists took issue with Eddie Murphy's portrayal of the character Rasputia, calling Norbit "just the latest [film built] around a black man dressing up as an unsophisticated, overweight black woman."
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a B grade, with under eighteens (28% of those surveyed) giving it a "B+" grade.