Adventures of Pluto Nash, The

Reviewed By The Ultimate Dancing Machine
Posted 08/18/02 16:33:49

"Lost in Space"
1 stars (Total Crap)

If Eddie Murphy were not obscenely rich, I might feel sorry for him, because it seems like his career has been in perpetual comeback mode for the last decade and a half. He's had hits and misses during that span, but virtually everything he's done lately looks like an attempt to recapture the promise he had back in the "Beverly Hills Cop" days. His latest effort isn't going to change anything, unfortunately; it's not epically bad, and we've had worse movies this year, but it would be best for everybody involved if "Pluto Nash" disappeared from sight as soon as possible.

Pluto Nash puts Murphy on the moon in the year 2060; he's a nightclub owner in trouble with a pack of gangsters. Murphy sleepwalks through his role, as if he isn't really sure what he should be doing at any given time. I can't say I blame him--I don't know what Pluto Nash was supposed to be doing, either. Though the mega Las Vegas set design points to a daffy sci-fi romp, which might have provided some decent laughs, Pluto Nash errs badly by playing it straight far too much of the time. The disappointment sets in fast: We're actually expected to take this lamebrained suspense plot more or less seriously. As a result, the movie is tediously half-hearted--as an action movie, it's not much; and as a comedy, it's not anything at all.

For those who have seen the trailer for this film, I can confirm your worst suspicions: That bit with the cryogenically frozen dog really is the funniest scene in the movie. Murphy has no room to break loose; he's trapped in an endless round of by-the-book chase numbers and boring lovey-dovey scenes with his babe (Rosario Dawson--and the instant she shows up on screen, you know that's her whole function in this movie). Randy Quaid displays better comic timing as Murphy's bodyguard, but something is going seriously wrong when the most interesting character is a robot.

And somebody should have canned the swooping space opera music, which so obviously doesn't belong in a light-hearted movie like this. I had the same complaint with Black Knight, a film that attempted to play with the conventions of medieval epic flicks while unironically importing the kind of music you associate with the genre.

The movie offers a few OK visual jokes--a movie marquee advertises The Rocky Horror Picture Show--but this can hardly compensate for its overall lack of imagination, or for the fact that its climactic plot twist seems to have been stolen from an old Star Trek episode.

Not quite as bad as you might have thought, it's just a flat and uninspired piece of whimsy, which simply fails in all categories.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.