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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.33%
Worth A Look: 22.45%
Average: 8.16%
Pretty Bad: 24.49%
Total Crap28.57%

3 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Haunted Mansion, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"This is not the Eddie Murphy I choose to remember."
2 stars

Back when Eddie Murphy was still young, brave and beholden to nothing but the rules of effective comedy, he offered some schtick about how he'd never be stupid enough to spend a night in an Amityville-style haunted house. Remember that joke? It was funny, right? Well, here comes Murphy as the expensive front-man for...a stupid haunted house comedy.

Chalk it up to silly coincidence, but I think it illustrates a bigger picture: back then, Murphy mocked the Haunted House conventions because it was solid comedy material; he shows up in The Haunted Mansion because he currently can't sell movie tickets unless he's starring in a mindless kiddie flick. Either way, it's pretty sad.

Of all the movies based on amusement park attractions, The Haunted Mansion is the second-best. It's also the second-worst. The bottom of this particular barrel is filled with The Country Bears. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the Citizen Kane of ride-based movies. Which leaves The Haunted Mansion, which is a film too inconsequential to be truly awful, and just banal enough to irritate anyone over the age of 12.

Murphy stars as a real estate agent who brings his wife and two children to the Gracie mansion in the hopes of selling the place. There he meets a sad-sack owner and a handful of forcefully colorful employees, some of whom are ghostly and others that are inside crystal balls.

With a labyrinthine plot like this (family in house) firmly in place, let the CGI effects flow. Murphy and the two kids wander through a dreary collection of set pieces involving ghosts, water and hidden rooms. Mom finds herself the object of Gracie's affections. Yeah, it's the old 'villain wants to marry someone else's wife' schpiel, and this time around it's especially tiresome.

Odd that the screenplay would spring from the pen of David Berenbaum, a newcomer scribe responsible for the wholly charming Will Ferrell comedy Elf. The Haunted Mansion has none of that film's off-kilter affability or confident pacing. The Haunted Mansion feels like something that was churned out through a machine; Disney Live-Action By Committee.

It's truly bizarre to see that Eddie Murphy can't currently support a grown-ups movie, yet has such resounding success with stuff like Shrek and Daddy Day Care and (to a smaller degree of success) The Haunted Mansion. I realize of course that Kiddie Flix are the easy way out for formerly brilliant comedians desperate for a solid payday (see also: Robin Williams or Steve Martin), but there's no reason that the resultant films need be this uninspired and inert.

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originally posted: 12/16/03 15:03:51
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User Comments

6/17/14 dr.lao Not terrible, but the comedy really isn't that funny 3 stars
2/13/10 Jeff Wilder Senator I saw Pirates Of The Caribbean. I liked Pirates. Senator this is no Pirates! 2 stars
8/16/09 the dork knight For a kid flick, it's not too terrible 4 stars
10/13/08 Shaun Wallner This film is hilarious!! 5 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Not even worth getting mad about. just pretend it dosent exist. 1 stars
2/03/07 ES Forgettable 2 stars
12/08/06 Stanley Thai A funny family film. Some thrilling scenes. 3 stars
8/17/05 love boring and childish, not very good script 2 stars
6/20/05 darick More unengaging than truly awful, especially to people 14 and over 2 stars
5/04/05 Quigley it'll freak the children out, but it was a clever film. some good digital effects as well. 5 stars
3/17/05 eddie fan #1 eddie, what have you done, what happened to the delirous eddie who said fuck every 30 secs 1 stars
1/30/05 gina THIS WAS THE BEST FAMILY FILM 5 stars
8/13/04 tatum Shut it off half way through, come on, people, Murphy has officially sold out 1 stars
7/22/04 Cecilia Corona Ireally liked it 5 stars
5/06/04 Mark Fulwiler The Disneyland ride is much more entertaining 2 stars
5/01/04 tiffany pate I love it. 5 stars
4/09/04 ramky Did'nt know Disney is this deep in s***!. Older ones are terrific, this one drips!!!! 1 stars
4/08/04 lyndon hasn't terence stamp deteriorated since "Billy Budd'. in 3 stars
2/18/04 Allison Lafferty Watchable light entertainment, nothing more or less. 4 stars
2/17/04 Littlepurch Better than expected. Script not gr8 but Eddie still really good. Too scary for kids tho. 4 stars
2/10/04 Whatevr Proof thet a Disney movie can suck (except for the direct to video sequels) 1 stars
12/10/03 re a good film 4 stars
12/09/03 Simon the Great dhis movie funnny eddie murphy is my hero so kool me likie! super kool effects 5 stars
12/08/03 Gray mansion=DARK side of Disney this film=kiddy horror/comedy..sick! 1 stars
12/08/03 ROTK=2004 Oscar!! Put Eddie out of his misery. Slit his throat now. 1 stars
12/04/03 KingNeutron Just goes to show, a good *director* can make a difference. 4 stars
12/02/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/01/03 *A Monotonous Creton Who Loves Tom Hulce* i think u all should go to hell, muthafuckers, murphy rulz!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/29/03 Angry Black Man wasn't bad, wasn't great. Just O.K. The dvd might be cool though. 3 stars
11/29/03 Reese Witherspoon suckzzzzz Total turd. Someone must save Eddie from himself! 1 stars
11/28/03 k I REALLY wanted to like this movie... but it sucked 2 stars
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  26-Nov-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 20-Apr-2004



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