Over the next week or so, I'll start posting my 'best/worst/etc. of 2012' lists. Among the films appearing on my 'underrated' list is Eddie Murphy's A Thousand Words. As longtime readers know, I often use my 'underrated' list to discuss films that, while objectively bad, didn't quite deserved the critical bruising they received and/or have nuggets of interest hidden inside the relative failure. But for now I'd like to merely acknowledge that Eddie Murphy is and arguably always has been a fine dramatic actor. Everyone was astounded by his nearly-Oscar winning turn in Bill Condon's Dreamgirls six years ago, and I'd argue that the key to said performance was his willingness to not go big during what could have been big dramatic moments (re - the scene where he drowns his artistic rejection by silently cutting a line of cocaine). Point being, it was less of a revelation than the mere fact that Murphy doesn't get to to do pure dramatic acting all that often (you could arguably count Life way back in 1999). As I wrote when A Thousand Words came out, Eddie Murphy has little desire to resurrect the Eddie Murphy of the early 1980s, and for arguably good reason (he's not exactly a kid anymore). But if Mr. Murphy does want to change up his routine a bit, then the best avenue would be to try a few more pure dramas, or at least films which required dramatic performances.
I have no idea whether such a clash of titans would produce a high water mark for either of the above, but I have long wondered about the potential for such a team up. I can't be the only one optimistically intrigued by the notion of both of these major stars (who yes, both happen to be African American) stepping well outside their comfort zone and seeing what transpires. And while they're at it, they can bring Tony Todd on-board as I'm sure he'd love a straight dramatic role where he doesn't have to kill people or ominously warn about *death*. Because for those who yearn for some kind of cinematic comeback (for the sixth or seventh time?) for Eddie Murphy, it ain't gonna happen unless he's willing to take a real chance. The risk of failure may be high, but the possibility of mutual success is too promising to ignore. So what do you think? Is an Eddie Murphy dramatic vehicle helmed by Tyler Perry a match made in cinematic heaven, or more ripe for cinematic hell?