Is there a more unlikely and unusual Hollywood career than that of Eddie Murphy? Murphy burst onto the entertainment landscape on Saturday Night Live in 1980, paved the way for the stand-up comedy scene, then branched out into movies. His comedy was boundless, controversial, often in the style of his hero and friend, Richard Pryor, and his early films reflected this: 48 am, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop and Eddie Murphy: Raw. Murphy then became more common: Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop II, Another 48 Hours, Boomerang, The Distinguished Gentlemanetc., with the ambitious so imperfect Harlem Nights and A Vampire in Brooklyn the main exceptions during this period.
And then, suddenly, in 1996, Murphy decided to focus on family films. It probably had something to do with the fact that by then five of his 10 children had been born. He probably wanted to make movies that they could see their dad in. The mad professor, a comedy remake in which he played more than half a dozen roles, with his appearance altered by cutting-edge visual effects and Oscar-winning makeup and prosthetics. And came Dr. Dolittle (1998), Mulane (1998), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), Shrek (2001), Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001), the disastrous The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), Dad Day Care (2003), and The haunted mansion (2003), Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), Meet Dave (2008), imagine that (2009), and shrek forever (2010). Meanwhile, most of Murphy’s adult films – with the very notable exception of bow finger (1999) and dream girls (2006) – proved to be box office and critical disappointments. These include Subway (1997), Holy man (1998), The life (1999), Show time (2002), I spy (2002). The outlier was Norbit (2007), a critically acclaimed comedy that proved to be a box office success.
imagine that is emblematic of Murphy’s nearly 15-year period making family films. And even if it opened before shrek foreverit was produced after the long-gestating animation Shrek final, which makes imagine that the actor’s last family film or at least his last live-action family film. imagine that is streaming now HBO Max but will leave on March 31. Well worth a look. It’s an ambitious yet light-hearted story of a workaholic father, Evan Danielsen (Murphy) whose young daughter, Olivia (Yara Shahidi), can see into the future through a magical blanket and several imaginary friends. Olivia’s abilities help Evan in his job as a financial investor, and the timing couldn’t be better, as a newcomer, Johnny (Thomas Haden Church), nabs her heels to become the star employee of the company. business.
Karey Kirkpatrick made her live-action debut after writing and directing Disney’s animated hit, Over the limitand write things like James and the Giant Peach, Chicken Run, Charlotte’s Weband The Spiderwick Chronicles. While silly and predictable, especially for adults, it’s a charming children’s movie co-produced by Paramount and Nickelodeon. Evan and Olivia happen to be black, but he’s just a dad and she’s just a kid who desperately needs her dad’s attention. imagine that clicks better when Murphy and Shahidi share the screen, which is a good part of the walkthrough. She’s natural and brings out the best in Murphy. And despite a stellar supporting cast that includes Nicole Ari Parker, Ronny Cox, Martin Sheen, Marin Hinkle and Stephen Root, it’s the scenes without the Murphy-Shahidi combo that fall flat.
And to come full circle, Shahidi is now 22 and graduated from the co-star of Blackish to the main actress of its spin-off, Cultivated. Murphy, based on Dolemite is my name and Coming 2 Americais back in the game. He just wrapped production on an upcoming Netflix movie titled you people, with Jonah Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mike Epps, Nia Long and David Duchovny. It is co-written and directed by Kenya Barris, creator of Blackish and Cultivated. Say it with us… Imagine that!
imagine that is streaming on HBO Max until March 31.