Hollywood Moviemaking 101: Fuck The Critics, Give The People The Shit They Crave


Normally, we'd be content to allow you to take the crash course in crowd-pleasing moviemaking offered by CNN.com's always edifying Story Highlights box, then send you on your way to get started on an incredibly lucrative career producing the kind of sure-fire hits that result from the combination of big-name stars, latex fat-suits, and middle-aged men falling off of motorcycles. But we thought that producer/director Brian Robbins' stirring defense of Norbit earner Eddie Murphy's talents bears a moment of your time, if for no other reason than it provides something of a bonus lesson in how to defend your talent against snobbish accusations that farting through a pair of grotesquely dimpled rubber buttocks isn't a valid demonstration of craft:

"You can't review 'Norbit' like you're reviewing 'The Departed.' What are you going to talk about, subtleties in performance?" asked Robbins, who now follows Murphy's advice and doesn't read the reviews of the movies on which he's involved. "Eddie Murphy plays three amazingly different characters brilliantly. How could you not praise that? No offense to Alan Arkin (who beat Murphy for the supporting actor Oscar), but he couldn't do what Eddie did in 'Norbit.' "

In Arkin's defense, his Oscar-winning performance was hampered by a directing team who lack Robbins' unequaled populist savvy; had Arkin convinced them to stop pandering to the Academy by insisting that each character be portrayed by a different actor, he probably would have proven a Murphy-level ability to portray Little Miss Sunshine's cartoonishly dysfunctional family all by himself, a performance that would've included a movie-defining moment in which he horrifies a repressed pagaent crowd by seducitvely removing all of his clothes to the strains of "Super Freak."