Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave
Credit: Bruce McBroom

Eddie Murphy hasn’t aged in any obvious way, which may be why he now looks like a Madame Tussauds replica of himself: slightly waxy and eerily preserved. That makes him perfect to play the robot hero of Meet Dave. Wandering through Manhattan (he’s an alien machine searching for salt to save his planet), Murphy makes his face a blank slate, but those popped eyes are almost iridescent, and there’s a hint of deviltry in his stone-featured Buster Keaton gaze. Meet Dave resurrects the gambit of the inside-the-human-body segment of Woody Allen‘s 1974 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex…But Were Afraid to Ask: Murphy’s robot, who picks up the name Dave, is a spaceship run by tiny technicians, each devoted to one section of the body — and led by a captain, played by Murphy with an absurdly proper British accent. When the captain speaks, his words come out of Dave’s mouth, and this leads to some funny scenes, like when Dave imitates the handshakes and smiling ”Yeah!”s of the guy he’s meeting — an acid send-up of fake American bonhomie. Dave is such a good mimic he becomes touching in his literal-minded innocence. Meet Dave leaps between the nimble and the crude (yes, there are colon jokes), and when the crew members discover they have feelings, it grows formulaic. But this unfairly maligned sci-fi comedy testifies that Eddie Murphy still has the gift of surprise. B

Meet Dave
  • Movie
  • 93 minutes