It's repugnant for its dehumanizing view (however unintentionally so) of a black man, and repugnant for its emptying-out of one of the great black performers of the time into a sanitized symbol of acceptable blackness.
After helming this, an episode of Roots and Best Picture-winner Driving Miss Daisy, Beresford should be forced to join 'Subservient Cinematic Negroes Anonymous.'
Murphy's low-key but affecting performance is filled with loaded and loving glances. And the restraint becomes the 55-year-old star. If only the film were better.
Murphy is fine as the title character, although his performance consists mostly of suppressing all of his usual shtick. He certainly doesn't endow Mr. Church with any unexpected depths. But then neither does the script.
Somehow Murphy manages to lift his dignified, all-knowing servant character off the page, giving a meticulously composed performance in a vehicle that can't help but feel superficially repackaged.
Get out your handkerchiefs, but don't expect to believe a minute of this vastly improbable tale.
Mr. Church is certainly another sign that Murphy does what he wants. Maybe this guarded performance in a lousy movie is a sign of him wanting to do something better.
Murphy is a revelation.
This mirthless Eddie Murphy vehicle from the director of 'Driving Miss Daisy' is rife with hoary 'magical negro' stereotypes.