of the most interesting things to observe in the movie industry is the trajectory an actor’s career takes once they gotten some awards recognition for the first time. Too often, they’ll exchange the kudos for big paychecks courtesy of crap studio films, rationalizing that they’ll do “one for them” and “one for me,” ostensibly an indie or smaller studio flick with a good pedigree.

What’s weird, however, is when an actor gets some awards recognition, already is rich beyond belief, and yet they willfully go back to doing crap studio films anyway, despite no real financial or career incentive to do so. And no one exemplifies that more these days than Eddie Murphy. Here you have a guy who began his career as a prodigiously talented comedian and writer, and once he tasted the nectar from the teat of major studio paychecks, he morphed into a completely different, more sanitized, and boring performer. Now he’s gotten a critical shot of credibility from his supporting turn in Dreamgirls, and yet if you look at his projects coming down the pike, and it’s like it never happened.

You’ve already aptly groaned at the news of Murphy in Starship Dave, not to mention his soon-to-arrive, latex-laden multi-character piece Norbit with Starship director Brian Robbins looks to be no less tired and uninspired. Now, he follows his Golden Globe win and Oscar nom with Nowhereland, a Paramount comedy due to be fast-tracked because….well, I’m not sure exactly. Given that it’s exactly the same sort of safe, yet fiscally rewarding tripe he was doing leading up to his Oscar nod, I can’t imagine that “Academy Award Nominee” Eddie Murphy will prove one iota more valuable to this effort than the garden variety dude we’ve seen churning out kid schlock for the past several years.

As for Nowhereland, it’s the story of a once-successful financial exec whose career starts to crap out, leading him to seek salvation in the imagionary world his daughter has created. I can’t imagine why they would get Eddie Murphy to do a story about a guy whose career stalling forces him to turn to kiddie material to make money. If he had the balls, Charlie Kaufman would be writing this, and it really would be Eddie Murphy doing a movie about Eddie Murphy’s career. Alas, it’s written by Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson of the Bill & Ted movies, not to mention a host of individual credits between the pair including Super Mario Bros., Men in Black, and Mom and Dad Save the World.

Pray for Eddie’s soul.