The Adventures Of Pluto Nash

2002, Movie, PG-13, 92 mins

Review

ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH, THE | PLUTO NASH
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There are worse movies, but that's no excuse. Warner Bros. kept this turkey on the shelf for so long (hoping, no doubt, that it would get better with age, or maybe just go away) that they were suspected of harboring a big-budget fiasco of HUDSON HAWK proportions. That's hardly the case (HUDSON HAWK might be a better film), but rarely has so much money delivered so little entertainment. Pluto Nash (played with little energy or apparent interest by Eddie Murphy) is a once-convicted moon smuggler (or "rill hopper") who has since gone straight and now runs his own nightclub in Little America, a fully oxygenated, gravity enhanced city on the surface of Earth's moon. Gambling is about to be outlawed on Earth, and a powerful crime syndicate, headed by the mysterious Rex Crater, plans on turning the entire moon into one big casino. Crater, who lives in Howard Hughes-style isolation atop the Lunagrand Hotel in the glittery gambling mecca of Moon Beach, has designs on Club Pluto, and sends two of his henchmen (Joe Pantoliano, Victor Varnado) to Little America with a nonnegotiable offer of $10 million. When Nash throws them out, they blow the place up. Understandably angry, Nash, along with Dina Lake (Rosario Dawson), an aspiring singer and Club Pluto employee who thinks she's somehow involved in this mess, and Bruno (a grinning and thoroughly grotesque Randy Quaid), Nash's antiquated robot body guard, makes tracks for Moon Beach and a showdown with Crater. On hand is a slew of talent in a parade of thankless cameos: Pam Grier, Illeana Douglas, Peter Boyle, Luis Guzman and John Cleese all try to liven things up, but to no avail; Jay Mohr does a fairly amusing turn as Nash's buddy, the casino crooner Tony Francis, but he suddenly disappears in what looks like a last minute re-edit. The sets are huge, the explosions are even bigger and the special effects are strictly state-of-the-art; little of it is very impressive, and none of it is any fun. The action is wholly generated by the effects, and the script is so hollow it makes Luc Besson's slick and supremely silly space-chase THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997) look like a work of genius. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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