There was an old Calvin and Hobbes strip in which Calvin imagines his body as a giant, manned robot, with lots of little, microscopic Calvins inside its giant control room, seeing to it that all of Calvin's bodily systems and physical actions are running smoothly. It was a fun clever with plenty of obvious comedic potential, and cartoonist Bill Watterson must have realized this, because he went on to make a couple more of them. And so readers were treated to scenes of the little Calvins trying to maintain structural integrity as the giant Calvin-bot falls down a flight of stairs, selecting the film reels to be played in Calvin's dreams, and so on.
That's more or less the idea behind Meet Dave, the latest starring vehicle for Eddie Murphy, and, if nothing else, the movie offers proof enough that it really is a good idea—one that really shines in the hands of a talented performer (Murphy) and generally withstands the manhandling it receives from a less-than-inspired script.
Murphy, of course, is both the giant robot—or, in this case, space vessel—that, by all outward appearances, seems human, but is in fact crewed by a small team of humanoid space aliens; Murphy also plays the captain of the ship. You can probably guess what happens: The crew and their Murphy-bot land on Earth in search of a precious orb—what the orb does isn't really the point—and must learn to maneuver their ship in such a way as to make it blend in with the rest of the humans. In the process, they adopt the name Dave for the robot, and Dave befriends an Earth woman, becomes romantically involved with her in a rather vague and harmless way, imparts some valuable life lessons to her son, has his identity compromised, and learns ...1
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