Despite the goodwill garnered (and promptly, I humbly submit, pissed away) by Eddie Murphy in his excellent turn as James "Thunder" Early, the once red-leathered king of comedy continues to join forces with the powers of lowest common denominator in potentially flaccid family fare*. While that last line illustrates a sad propensity for a weakness to alliteration, it doesn’t change the fact that Murphy’s latest fam-friendly project (right after the currently-filming Starship Dave) NowhereLand has nabbed a director.
Karey Kirkpatrick (he’s the one on the right), director of Over the Hedge and screenwriter for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Chicken Run will take the lead in directing Murphy in a story about a guy who finds all career answers exist in the make-believe world of his young daughter. The story was inspired by screenwriter Ed Solomon’s own experience with having his son solve a grownup issue: Tantrums work!
To be honest, the premise feels nice. It may wind up schmaltzy, fart-laced and just plain crap, but despite my jaded and snark-laced worldview, there’s something sweet about the idea of kids being able to show adults what’s what. That is, if you like kids. If you don’t – this whole movie has already been flushed straight down the crapper.
NowhereLand has designs to start shooting in September.
*I don’t believe it’s the idea of Eddie Murphy "taking the easy route" with PG-ey stuff that’s been drawing scorn over the last few years. It’s the fact since Home Alone, most "family films" have descended into this idea that slapstick jokes, objects to the balls and farts to the face are funny in every movie, instantly redeemed by some heartfelt ending or lesson far too easily learned. Eddie Murphy shouldn’t be slighted for taking a turn toward family fare, he should be slighted when he takes a turn toward crappy family fare. Here’s to hoping NowhereLand is a break from the norm.