The Adventures of Pluto Nash (PG)

Review by Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Music Video - 'Ain't No Need'; The Making Of The Music Video; Additional Scenes; Trailer.

EDDIE Murphy’s latest big screen outing is the type of movie which starts with a toilet flush and just keeps getting worse.

Pluto Nash has the dubious honour of being one of the biggest flops of the US summer blockbuster season - taking a paltry $2 million in its opening weekend, despite costing a colossal $90 million to make.

American critics were not given the chance to review it before it opened - and it is easy to see why. The film is Murphy’s biggest misfire since the equally disastrous Harlem Nights.

Set on the Moon in the year 2087, Pluto Nash finds Murphy’s eponymous nightclub owner mixing with the wrong elements when he refuses to sell his club to the mysterious Rex Crater, a criminal mastermind intent on taking over the whole planet.

Forced on the run, Nash must then reveal the identity of Crater, before his team of rogue agents (led by Joe Pantoliano’s pantomime villain) find and erase him.

Aiding him is a motley bunch of friends and family members, from Pam Grier’s sassy mother (playing off her Seventies persona), and Rosario Dawson’s dopey singer, through to Peter Boyle’s pool shark, Luis Guzman’s cartoonish fellow smuggler and Randy Quaid’s robot bodyguard.

As you may have guessed, Pluto Nash boasts some big names and some even larger set pieces; yet despite the talent amassed (Burt Young, Alec Baldwin, Jay Mohr and John Cleese also make cameos), the movie consistently fails to achieve the two things it sets out to - amuse or excite.

Ron (Mighty Joe Young/Tremors) Underwood’s direction is frequently uninspired, some of his sets seem to have been inherited from Total Recall, and nothing is as funny as it should be - with only the occasional aside to raise a smirk (usually associated with a visual gimmick, such as a scantily-clad female robot who keeps bending over, or a dollar bill with Hilary Clinton’s face on it).

Guzman, too, seems to be having a blast sending up his Carlito’s Way image.

Thankfully, proceedings are kept mercifully short - but when you are forced to look at your watch several times during a 90-minute movie, there has to be something very wrong.

As for Murphy, whose best role for years has been making an ass of himself in Shrek, the sound of that toilet flushing at the start of the movie may well be the sound of his career going down the pan.

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