Most of the time the streaming charts look how you’d expect, populated with new releases, classics, and some half-forgotten favorites getting a moment in the spotlight. But occasionally a truly dreadful film comes back from the dead for no apparent reason.
This 2007 Eddie Murphy film is considered one of the worst of his career, seeing him playing the titular character as he struggles with a loveless marriage while falling in love with another woman. It’s become renowned for its eye-watering racial stereotyping, with Murphy doing his The Nutty Professor schtick of playing other characters under heavy prosthetics.
This includes the monstrous Rasputia, who is basically a walking fat n’ fart gag machine, and Mr. Wong, an Asian caricature that echoes Mickey Rooney’s notorious performance in Breakfast at Tiffany‘s a half-century earlier. It led critic Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club to claim that “it probably isn’t possible for a single movie to reverse all social progress made since the civil-rights era, but Norbit does its best to turn back the clock.”
Nobody comes out of this looking good, least of all Terry Crews, who plays a character dreaming of establishing his own strip club called ‘Nippolopolis’ (all else aside, I will admit that’s not a bad name).
Norbit sits at a rock-bottom 9% on the Tomatometer and was nominated for a slew of Golden Raspberry Awards, with Murphy picking up gongs for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress. The film also received the Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ ‘Hall of Shame’ award. In a bizarre postscript, Norbit was eventually nominated for an actual Academy Award for Best Makeup, though lost out to La Vie en Rose.
Sadly that means we can’t refer to the ‘Academy Award winning’ Norbit, which would at least mean one funny thing had come out of the whole enterprise.