WIRTB Review: The Adventures of Pluto Nash

By Speed on the Beat (@SpeedontheBeat)

In viewing some Internet reviews, as I tend to do when bored and need a laugh, I saw that Doug Walker (a/k/a The Nostalgia Critic) is going to review a bad Eddie Murphy film next week. No, not Meet Dave. No, not Norbit. No, not that other one he was in a couple years ago with Precious and Zoolander. I'm talking something far more sinister, horrifying even. I'm talking his magnum opus of "what the sheer fuck?" otherwise known as The Adventures of Pluto Nash. As always, I'm Speed on the Beat, and this is WIRTB Review. I figured I'd hit a pretty low-hanging fruit for my WIRTB Return, then get into shit that people actually like.

Even Eddie has a "what the fuck?" face...on the damn poster!

So, if you know anything about this film, you'll know that it was in some sort of production hell for close to twenty years. If a film gets delayed that many times over the span of three decades, something should tell you that walking away and/or burning the script is probably your best option. I mean, my God! Even after they finally got this turd storm into production in April of 2000, they still ended up having to re-cut it, remix it, re-shoot it, and re-program the minds of its crew to believe they were doing something great for society. At a $100 million budget, the film made back about $7 million of that in the box office. Even with its almost $25 million in rentals (I guess because it's become a cult classic that you must watch if you're a film lampooner?), the film flopped.

Now that we've gotten that little bit of backstory out the way, let's get into the film. Here's its trailer, in case you're curious. Bask in its headshakingly awkward glory.

Set in the Lunar colony Little America (because AMERICA FUCK YEAH! Also because Earth became a shithole from criminals), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (false advertising because there's really--spoiler alert?--just one adventure) tells the story of Pluto Nash, a businessman of sorts, and his plans to keep the Moon safe from foolishness (sort of?). Marketed as a comedy, nothing in the film is funny for the right reasons, including the numerous moon puns and pop culture jabs. For instance, there's a sports team named the Air Jordans.

The first and last time I'll use Crying Jordan. It's worth it.

However, that sort of low-grade coonery is expected in some ways. It's a notoriously shit film. But, at least make the characters likable! The first thing that throws me off about this film is simple. Pluto Nash, played by Eddie Murphy, is an unlikeable, irredeemable asshole. He's not a funny asshole. He's not a charismatic asshole. He's not even a profound one (shameless plug).

This is the hero of the story, folks. Take him in and love him...like you would a morbidly obese cat with feline AIDS.

He's just an asshole through and through. Sure, he saves the club owner from getting murderized in the beginning of the film. But, he ends up buying out said club owner and rebuilding the heap in his image in a matter of movie seconds. Seriously! There's no sort of growing pains, no sort of build-up for this. Nothing! Pluto walks into a bar after getting out of prison (spoiler alert: he smuggles animals), sees Anthony (played by Jay Mohr), talks to him, has mobsters run in, and "sweet talks" his way into opening the club for himself. Why? Well...

Fast forward to seven-or-eight years later (the film starts in 2079 and the flash forward is in 2087), because who-the-fuck-has-time-for-character-building, and the new Club Pluto is on and poppin'. His staff includes Ethnic Stereotype Numero Uno, played by Miguel Nunez (2002 was the end of his sanity, it seems. He was also Juwanna Mann two months prior) and Bruno, a horny, obsolete android played by Randy Quaid.

Enter our romantic lead, Dina Lake (Rosario Dawson), stuck in a endless loop of bad decisions--real-life and otherwise. Dina's dad was friends with Pluto, so he obviously helps her get a job. What is that job, you ask? No, for real. Take a guess. If you said "a lounge singer," you're...actually wrong. She becomes a server--and a squatter. Way to get double or nothing, Dina, amirite?

But, since the movie doesn't seem to care about anything other than moving the plot along, we're introduced to our Big Bad, Rex Crater, through his goons Mogan and...Kelp? Oh, for fuck's sake, movie! You're set in the future and you couldn't think of a more-menacing name than "large seeweed" for a goon? Is that too much to ask? Shit, I wouldn't have batted an eye if he was named Butch or Buck or even Googly-Eyed Bastard Face. But, Kelp? KELP?! Here's my face after I learned "Kelp" was a thing.

I mean, I accepted that this movie was stupid from the jump, even when I was on of the few schmucks who saw this...thing in theaters. But, looking back on it now? It's even worse. So, after I reprogrammed my brain to "stupid," I continued to watch. Guess what Rex wants? The club, silly. He wants to convert it into a casino. And guess how he gets it. Again, I'm asking for reader participation, because your answers surely couldn't make less sense than this fucking shit.

Give up?! Well, they blow the club to shit because "if I can't have it, no one will" is a philosophy shared by every dickhead in this film's universe to a degree. Picking up the pieces, Pluto, Dumb-bot, and The Last Shred of Dignity Rosario Dawson's pre-25th Hour Career Had try to chase down the "why" behind "why the fuck am I watching this shit still?" "why does Rex Carter want to take over the world starting with Club Pluto?" This leads to The Pluto Gang talking to a retired cop with FBI connections--and who's friends with Pluto's mom because PAM GRIER! Said cop, Rowland (played painfully by Peter Boyle), reveals that Rex is:
  1. involved with a cloner
  2. never seen outside of a penthouse in Moon Beach
If your mind isn't saying "oh, he's probably a clone of Pluto because how-fucking-else can this movie get more obvious?," seek immediate medical attention, spoilers be damned. Your brain may've just short-circuited trying to process this film's ineptitude at, well, just about everything. Some of the shots are nice. But, the sets are so ugly and drab (I get the "film noir-meets-Eddie Murphy" feel they're going for, but it doesn't work), the characters are idiots, the writing is abysmal, and we've still got a pretty hefty chunk of movie to go.

After learning about the cloning subplot, the gang meets up with an associate of the cloner (because the cloner is dead/didn't get paid enough for this shit). This is when we get a shining example of the comedy this film offers: dated, basic-ass humor that even a yokel with the IQ of 1.39 wouldn't find funny. Dina and Pluto, posing as a married couple head to this associate who (surprise?) is a cosmetic surgeon.

I'm just gonna leave this here for you.

Fuck you, movie, for thinking this was supposed to be funny--or even aesthetically pleasing. I've seen better body morphing in that State Farm commercial with Selita Ebanks and Mehcad Brooks and that's not even the same damn thing! The funny continues when Pluto, being all assholish again, gets the surgeon to reveal that cloner doc was working with an Earth criminal with an inscribed briefcase. Something something John Cleese cameo as a chauffeur, something something hell-yeah-Pam-Grier, something something mistaken identity (they think that Rex is really a criminal named Michael Marucci, played by Alec Baldwin in a cameo that he doesn't even seem to list on IMDB), something something EXPLOSIONS! and we're brought to The Pluto Gang getting to Moon Beach c/o some random smuggler who idolizes everything Pluto's done.

...except, maybe, this movie.

Upon entering Moon Beach, there's a stand off (duh), the gang infiltrates Rex's compound/casino (duh), and classic Good Guys with Shit-for-Brains trope number 1933002--getting captured by the Big Bad just in time for a Big Bad speech, in case you're wondering--gets tossed out there for the few people who still thought this movie could turn around.

Rex is a clone of Pluto (told you) created from Pluto's appendix. Said clone inherited Pluto's memories (I know, right), thus causing him to be cognizant of Pluto's next moves and suchforth. We get a classic "who's the real Rex/Pluto?" moment (way to pile on those cliches, guys) which leads to Pluto shooting Bruno (the real Pluto would never shoot his own robot, right?) and Rex getting shot by his associate--but not dying (#BulletproofVestFTW). This sets up the close of the movie.

Eddie Murphy kills Eddie Murphy. I shit you not. In one of the worst death scenes I've ever seen, Pluto throws Rex through a window, causing Rex to die on a card table below. Why? Because one Eddie Murphy is evil enough during this era. After this cluster of SMH, Pluto reopens the club, he's still an asshole, Bruno is now managing the club, and Dina is now singing. 

And my remaining brain cells can finally die a quick and painful death. 

This movie is putrid. It's horrible. It's bad in a way that isn't even "so bad it's good." Truthfully, watching this movie made me equally sad and angry. I mean, the idea (lunar film noir with comedy elements) could've been halfway decent. However, the film's doomed-from-the-start feel kills any even remotely decent element it may have--and that's being nice. There are better "so bad it's good" films to watch. There are better Eddie movies to peep. There are videos of cockroaches dying better than this festering pile of bile. 

Fuck this movie. Just...no.

...feels good to be back, though.


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