Meet Dave (PG)

Comedy 90 July 11, 2008
By Tim Grierson
If you’re an 8-year-old boy who’s never heard of E.T. or Liar Liar, then Meet Dave may be your new favoritest movie of all time. On a mission to save his dying planet of miniature aliens, the captain of a human-shaped spaceship (both played by Eddie Murphy) flies to Earth, befriending perky widow Gina (Elizabeth Banks) and her meek son Josh (Austyn Lind Myers). As directed by the none-too-subtle Brian Robbins (Norbit, The Shaggy Dog), Meet Dave is aimed squarely at prepubescent boys—the mixture of sci-fi, broad physical comedy, and absent-father sentiment will prove irresistible, although they may gag at the schmaltzy love story. What keeps the film surprisingly likable is a game cast led by Murphy, who sustains more laughs from the moth-eaten Starman conceit than it deserves. Murphy’s questionable recent career choices notwithstanding, the guy remains a gifted comedian, and his performance as the spaceship “Dave”—his body a foreign vessel awkwardly trying to interact with jaded Manhattanites—possesses the sort of inspired glee he hasn’t demonstrated since Bowfinger. Still, Meet Dave feels a little too cuddly and familiar to be more than a programmatic summer kids’ movie—better than average, but not worth phoning home about.
Brian Robbins Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union, Judah Friedlander, Ed Helms, Smith Cho, Brandon Molale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Stephanie Venditto, Paul Scheer Bill Corbett, Rob Greenberg Jon Berg 20th Century Fox