A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Remember when Eddie Murphy was funny — and not just regular funny — Axel Foley funny? Ya ever wonder what happened to Eddie Murphy? I’ll tell ya what happened to Eddie Murphy. Shrek happened to Eddie Murphy. Yeah, Shrek! Now, I’m as huge a Shrek fan as the next over-the-hill heterosexual male, but the truth is Shrek is the biggest career killer since Rebel Without A Cause bumped off James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.
Let’s look at the facts:
In the Shrek universe there’s Shrek, Fiona and Donkey — Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy.
Mike Myers — He’s the guy from Saturday Night Live. The guy who was Wayne Campbell from Wayne’s World and Dieter from Sprockets. The guy who went on to become Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. Mike Myers was born to play Shrek. He brings that perfect balance of testosterone green and 21st century sensitive to the animated screen. He turned a stereotypical ogre into a multi-layered personality, tough but tender, an ogre for the ages. But what has he done since then — a 30 million dollar lawsuit and The Cat In The Hat? The Cat In The Hat! In 2003, Golden Raspberry created a special award for “The Worst Excuse For An Actual Movie” and gave it to The Cat In The Hat. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there was a fly-by in Inglourious Basterds — but nobody cares, and these days Mike Myers is just another used-to-be funny Canadian.
Cameron Diaz — Let’s face it, Cameron Diaz is not a very good actress. She has her moments, but I don’t see her playing Lady Macbeth anytime soon. The thing is, at one time, her films were cute and sometimes, through no fault of her own, they even made money. Then she did Shrek. Since then, despite one last kick at the Charlie’s Angels cash cow, Diaz has been in so many trash movies she’s earned — earned — a hazardous waste warning from the EPA. In 2014, she received not one but two Worst Actress Awards (in the same year!) from The Golden Raspberry — and then … she did Annie. Honestly, suicide bombers have brighter career expectations than Cameron Diaz.
Eddie Murphy — Now, there was a funny guy. He made us laugh on Saturday Night Live. He made us roll off the sofa and pee our pants when he did his red leather Eddie Murphy Raw shtick. Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop (1, 2 and, slightly, 3) The Nutty Professor, Doctor Doolittle — these are all funny movies. Then Shrek and Fiona hove up on the horizon (for the record, Donkey is Eddie Murphy’s best role — ever.) Unfortunately, since then, his career has gone down the toilet. Take a look! Since 2001, Eddie Murphy has given the world Pluto Nash, I Spy, Daddy Day Care, Norbit, Imagine That and A Thousand Words (a movie Rotten Tomatoes refused to rate above 0!) This isn’t a creative slump — it’s a tsunami of godawful. In 2010, The Golden Raspberry named Eddie Murphy The Worst Actor of the Decade (coincidentally, he beat out Mike Myers for that honour.) Personally, I’d invest in Kodak, Enron and Blockbuster before I’d put my money into an Eddie Murphy movie.
Obviously, you don’t have to be Jerry Bruckheimer to figure out what’s going on here. Shrek is cursed. Clearly, Dreamworks has disturbed the Fairy Tale gods, and now Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and their real life personas must pay the price. That’s what happened to Eddie Murphy. Hollywood is cruel.