With all its intricacies and rituals, practically all of them implicit, we take a lot of human interaction for granted. Never really stopping to see just how ridiculous these rules may seem to outsiders. In 2008, a visitor from a far-off land would shed some light on our curious habits, as the city of New York got to finally Meet Dave.
When a glowing rock crashes into a boy’s window, the boy keeps it. Three months later, a conspicuous humanoid crash lands in New York, he seems to have trouble doing just about anything. We learn that this man is, a mechanical device, piloted by miniature humanoids who came from a far-off planet. They sent the rock to pilfer the salt from the earth’s oceans, and so desperately need this back. To find this rock, Dave (as the crew call themselves) must do their best to blend in with the curious earthlings, and the bizarre culture, they are repulsed by. As the risk of assimilating increases, the crew are acting strangely, can they complete their mission, or will emotions get in the way?
Like an ersatz Star Trek parody, a large portion of the humour comes from the crew of aliens and their reactions to earth culture, and their misunderstanding of it. Practically prefixing every statement with the word ‘Curious’, it’s more than charming and shows off the roots of the writer, Mystery Science 3000 alumni, Bill Corbett. While it is not entirely the novelist idea of depicting mini humanoids operating inside a body, the film does extract a lot of comedy from its presence. Particularly when ingesting Margaritas and engaging in Hot Dog eating contests. Seeing Dave attempt to blend into the population of New York is where the other half lies. As David Chang (a name that is derived from the most popular names on earth) hardly ever gets old.
The cast certainly helps this interstellar comedy shine. Most notably is Eddie Murphy, who demonstrates his experience greatly here. He has a dual role in Meet Dave, as the captain of the ship (or Number 1), he’s smart, charming, and disciplined. Almost playing the opposite as Dave, whose awkwardness and robotic bluntness provide some key laughs. Outside the charming captain and the ship that he pilots, the crew is also filled with familiar faces like Ed Helms, Gabrielle Union, and Kevin Heart as Numbers 2, 3, and 17 respectively. The human element is also here, as Dave integrates with the family of the comet founder. Elizabeth Holmes, whose character, Gina is having a little more than a case of the Monday’s when she meets (read crashes into and dislocates) Dave Chang, and young Josh, who now has a substitute father figure, as well as a substitute teacher looking out for him.
With some dazzling visual effects, an abundance of Fish out of Water comedy and other memorable moments, Meet Dave is an enchanting creation, showcasing Murphy’s talent for comedy that is still shining strong. Both unafraid to be silly and delightful, Meet Dave is a charming retro family adventure, with some knowing references to sci-fi to spice it up. If you let The Captain and the crew into your life, they might provide competition to be your favourite Martian.
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