There’s one way that The Adventures of Pluto Nash, an action comedy set on the moon, seems truly lunar: It isn’t weighed down by jokes. In the 21st century, America sets up a satellite colony that looks like a triple-decker shopping mall built entirely out of discarded hunks of aluminum siding. If only someone had discarded the script!
As Pluto Nash, a stylishly attired opportunist who attempts to hunt down the gangster who blew up his nightclub, Eddie Murphy delivers his lines with that weirdly relaxed, fake-enthusiastic bonhomie that telegraphs, just below the surface, a what-am-I-doing-here? bafflement desperate enough to match Elvis Presley’s in his worst bombs. Every 15 minutes or so, we get a stale crumb of back-to-the-future satire that would have been dated even if the movie had been released on schedule a year ago — Hillary Clinton on a $10,000 bill, a reference to the intersection of Microsoft and Sixth, and so on.
How on earth, or anywhere else, did director Ron Underwood manage to blow $100 million on this? The one lively element is Randy Quaid, bald and towering, with hypno-eyes and a ’50s robot voice, as a silver-suited ‘droid who looks like he should have been called Maxi-Me.