Pull the other leg, Eddie! At last week's Shrek Forever After premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, Eddie Murphy toyed with the media. Presumably struggling to keep a straight face, he confessed he'd lost his “cool and edge.”
Speaking to New York mag's Vulture blog, the once-popular superstar mused, “I think my cool and edge are gone. You know, I think I'm onto some other place. Whatever my edge or cool was back then, I'm onto some other area. I don't know what it is.” So what'll he do? “I'm thinking about getting into stand-up, to see what comes up.”
The wonder is that some members of the media are taking him seriously. The normally astute Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells rated that as the most “genuinely appealing” comment he'd heard from Murphy since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
Wells agreed that a return to stand-up would be Murphy's smartest option, a dubious opinion based on having seen the man perform live twice, the last time at the Universal Amphitheatre in 1983.
If Murphy really does intend to go back to his roots, why is he busily accepting numerous film roles, despite the monumental flops of Imagine That and Meet Dave? And if he's determined to regain his mojo, why did he sign up for the fourth edition of Beverly Hills Cop, an almost certainly doomed attempt to revive a franchise that was born in 1984, some 16 years after the last instalment?
Imdb.com lists four other upcoming films to which he's attached: The Misadventures of Fluffy, a buddy comedy featuring talking animals (that's “cool”?); Fantasy Island, based on the popular TV series, in which he'd play multiple characters (where's the “edge”?); Marshals, where he'd be one half of the first two black marshals of the Old West; and an untitled Romeo and Juliet project.
Perhaps Eddie's statement is, in part, a rueful acknowledgement that one of his most recent movies, DreamWorks' A Thousand Words, is missing in action. Directed by Brian Robbins and featuring Murphy as a savvy, money-grubbing head of a literary agency who discovers he only has a thousand words left to say before he dies, the movie was originally due for release in the US last February. Now it's listed to debut in Australia in February 2011.
His comments provoked various reactions on internet sites, some funny, some rude. “Oh yes, Eddie, please come back. We really need more homophobic comedians,” said one non-fan. “Yeah, Eddie has kind of lost his edge, but there aren't many performers that don't as they get older,” opined another. “Hell, look at Robin Williams. Or better yet, don't.”
“Still got a lot of love for Murphy. Really need him to do something magical again. I was disappointed that he wasn't in Inglourious Basterds, as was rumoured early on. Doing a Tarantino flick would get his fire going again. Still don't think we've seen the last of 'classic' Murphy,” said one admirer.
Last year the Den of Geek website offered Eddie some gratuitous but sensible advice, including: restrict yourself to one character per film; take risks; ditch Beverly Hills Cop IV; choose better directors and scripts; and avoid fat suits.