Eddie Murphy plays both a tiny alien and the human-shaped spaceship he captains in the whimsical comedy "Meet Dave" (20th Century Fox/Regency).
After a baseball-size device designed to save their imperiled world goes astray, winding up in the New York apartment of kindhearted young widow Gina Morrison (Elizabeth Banks) and her 11-year-old son, Josh (Austyn Lynd Myers), a crew from the planet Nil arrives on Earth.
Their efforts to pass their "rocket" Dave off as an everyday guy while retrieving the vital instrument are guided by their cultural officer's (Gabrielle Union) assiduous use of Google.
Appareled in a white suit and black tie -- inspired by Ricardo Montalban's attire in the only broadcast ever to reach Nil, "Fantasy Island" -- Dave commits one strange solecism after another, drinking ketchup from the bottle, scrambling eggs along with their shells and mistaking a stuffed animal for an intergalactic enemy. Still, he manages to win Gina's friendship and Josh's admiration, instilling self-confidence in the undersized, often bullied boy.
Plot complications include the cultural officer's jealousy of Gina, the resentment of the captain's second-in-command (Ed Helms) and earnest police officer Dooley's (Scott Caan) determination to prove Dave's extraterrestrial identity. Dave's emotionless crew members, meanwhile, begin to loosen up, becoming "infected" by human individuality.
As scripted by Rob Greenberg and Bill Corbett, director Brian Robbins' film relies entirely on the single joke of Murphy's abject social awkwardness, and reactions will depend on viewers' appreciation for the star's sustained physical comedy and manic mugging. But there are nods along the way to generosity, human decency and the heroic potential of seemingly ordinary people.
These movies have been evaluated for artistic merit and moral suitability by the media reviewing division of Catholic News Service. The reviews include the CNS rating, the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and a brief synopsis of the movie.
The classifications are as follows:
A-I -- general patronage;
A-II -- adults and adolescents;
A-III -- adults;
L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. L replaces the previous classification, A-IV.
O -- morally offensive.
Note: Some movies previously were designated A-IV. Older films with this classification should be regarded as classified L.