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Help Me to Help You, Eddie Murphy

June 30, 2009

“…The [Los Angeles] Times reports that audience tracking indicates that Paramount’s Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy, is likely to become the year’s biggest bomb when it opens this weekend.”

                                                                            , June 11, 2009

“‘Nobody wants to see Eddie Murphy being Eddie Murphy,”‘[said] a studio marketeer.”

                                                                                      -Entertainment Weekly, June 26, 2009

Hey, Eddie Murphy. We need to talk.

Did you come alone? Good. Because this has nothing to do with those studio chimps pulling the strings on your career. They are lying to you, Eddie. Flat out lying. I’m gonna shoot you straight.

Look, I don’t blame your choices over the past few years. I’m sure that somewhere along the line someone told you that the best way to keep your draw with the public was to evolve, and that the next natural step in that evolution was to segue into family comedy. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, right? Made sense, I’m sure.

They were wrong, buddy.

Listen, you’re Eddie Murphy. You’re Eddie “48 Hours, Coming to America, Trading Places” Murphy. You’re not Eddie “Doctor Dolittle 2, Daddy Day Care, Haunted Mansion” Murphy. You’re not even really Eddie “Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn” Murphy. It is time to take back your name. Because trust me, the world has not forgotten. Even though you may think it has. So here’s the deal. Here’s how you’re going to come back. This is the plan.

1. Start talking to people again. You’ve received this whole “grumpy recluse” reputation from people who worked with you on movies that were terrible, and which you probably knew were terrible, and which made you grumpy and reclusive. Get back out there. Be charming again. Be funny. Be yourself. 

2. No more costumes/makeup. Let’s face it: Coming to America is a classic. And most of the original Nutty Professor is pretty damn funny too. But then we had another Nutty Professor, and then Norbit. It seemed like a bit much. Remember, we liked Coming to America because all those characters felt like natural Eddie Murphy characters. They weren’t forced. Norbit was forced. 

3. Stop listening to whoever is advising you. You are clearly receiving terrible information from someone. Maybe that’s a girlfriend, or an agent, or some sort of wacked-out Hollywood script guru. But whoever it is, cut them off. Make your own decisions. We know you know what’s funny because we all saw you on Saturday Night Live, and in Raw and Delirious. Go with your gut. There is no way your gut told you Meet Dave was gold. You know it and I know it.

4. Reclaim yourself. Give us the Eddie Murphy we love. And quit dicking around. Entertainment Weekly reported this week you rejected the latest draft of a new Beverly Hills Cop movie. I can “get” discerning, but make this thing work. You are Axel Foley. And you have in Axel Foley a character who can age and grow more mature and still work. He’s not Indiana Jones or Batman. Axel Foley is you. So be him again, and let us all get behind you. Go back to your roots.

And one other thing: that same Entertainment Weekly article stated due to a dispute with Paramount, you’re also no longer attached to Bill Condon’s Richard Pryor biopic. What? Mend that bridge ASAP. If anyone in this country knows the significance of Richard Pryor and knows how to play him, it’s you. This is yours for the taking. Because if you don’t, you know who’s going to end up playing Pryor? Jamie Foxx. Mark it down. Mr. “I can’t get enough eyeballs on me” himself. And despite the press, Jamie Foxx is no Eddie Murphy — not even if the world was filled with a million Mario Lopezes. So just fix whatever’s broken and do this thing.

We’re all behind you, Eddie Murphy. You can do this. We have faith in you. Just follow this plan and everything will work out. If you have any other questions, you know where to find me. I’m the guy burning a stack of Holy Man VHS tapes in the driveway of your house. Because you’re better than that, Eddie Murphy. You’re better than that.

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