Eddie Murphy wows 'em In the "I Guess It Means Well" department falls this moderately underachieving comedy starring Jeff Goldblum as a home shopping network programmer who must turn slumping sales around or else he's out of a job. Kelly Preston comes in to help move product (and Goldblum's sexual desire) in the right direction, but nothing seems to work. Enter Eddie Murphy as a muu-muu-wearing philosophe on a spiritual journey to Gosh-Knows-Where, and soon enough, his peculiar brand of Zen Capitalism has things pumping at the network.
The emotions and morals are fine enough, but there's a fine layer of "cute" covering everything. Eddie Murphy's single-lettered name "G" implies that he's God, I suppose, but none of the theological implications are even hinted at, instead abandoned for some nicely-worded platitudes. Strangely enough, Murphy himself is pretty durned good here; he's utterly convincing as a new-age guru without a hint of irony, and when he's on-screen, you can't help but smile. Even Goldblum seems to be polishing a turd into a very nice little sculpture, his trademark lopsided delivery bringing a little dimension into an otherwise flat-as-Kansas role.
It's a great idea—use America's disgust with materialism to actually sell them more products—but none of the Big Questions are asked, let alone answered. I know that's a lot to ask of a mainstream comedy, but can't we demand more of movies that ask us to demand more in ourselves?
Return to Ian's movie reviews.