Thereas something that makes Dave stand out from everyone else in New York City. AItas that heas an alien! AMore accurately, heas an alien ship, on a mission to Earth to save his home planet. ATorn between the voices in his head a a tiny alien crew led by a high-strung, miniature version of himself a and the world around him, Dave struggles to appear normal.
is a family space farce with enough Eddie Murphy slapstick to make the whole family chuckle. With elements of InnerSpace
, Men in Black
, and even a bit of Woody Allen's Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex
, the film may not break new ground, but Murphy's giddy performance lifts the material to an engaging level. Murphy plays a space ship in human form, carrying wee aliens on an excursion to earth. As "Dave Ming Chang," he interacts with his surroundings and fellow humans by following the orders given by the ship's commanders inside his "head." It's an endearing fish-out-of-water yarn that riffs of pop culture as well as potty humor for its laughs. ("Lieutenant Bottoms, what is your status?" "Captain, we had a small gas leak. It was silent, but not deadly.")
In the course of his mission, Dave is hit by a car, becomes a substitute teacher in a New York City public school, and starts to develop feelings for earth kids--and ladies. All the while his homage to the Bee Gees, from the white suit to his high-pitch-perfect rendition of "Stayin' Alive," provides an oddly perfect backdrop and symbol for Dave's being ever so slightly behind the times. Murphy is engaging as always, firing off deadpan one-liners and happily being the straight man to the film's jokes. A potential love interest, Gina (Elizabeth Banks), mentions that her late husband was a captain in the Navy. Dave says, "I am a captain." Gina: "Oh really? A captain of what?" Inside Dave's head, the crewmembers frantically search their earth database to give him the answer: "I am a captain of crunch." --A.T. Hurley