Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is Mike Myers the New Eddie Murphy?

Two weeks ago Shrek Forever After was released and so far it has made $43.4 million. While that is not too shabby by any means I started to wonder if Mike Myers has lost touch with his roots. Today it seems that Myers now sticks to kids movies. Granted the first two Shrek installments were funny and original. He made a shit load of money with those films and I give him all the credit and respect in the world. However, I felt the franchise lost its steam by the third and he kept hacking away at it. Whatever happened to the Mike Myers from the 90’s and early 2000’s? I’m talking about the type of comedy that was edgy and creative like in Wayne’s World I & II, So I Married an Axe Murderer, even the Austin Powers franchise. Each of those films and characters were so funny that I almost get sad when I think of Myers today. Those characters took on a life of their own outside the movie theater and became ingrained in American pop culture. I mean who doesn’t quote Wayne’s World or an Austin Power’s movie? Yes, Shrek is equally part of American pop culture as well but that fat ogre will never live up to Wayne or Dr. Evil in my opinion.

Even though Myers has had small roles in non kid films such as, A View From the Top and Inglorious Basterds, he hasn’t truly delivered and they are few and far between. Is it appropriate to call him a sell out? Five to seven years ago I would have said no. Today, yes. Myers has followed in the footsteps of another SNL star who once had the comedic golden touch but lost it. Eddie Murphy was a revolutionary comedian. His films were funny and his stand up was raw. Then all of sudden, he consistently starts to take on these kids movies thus disowning his heritage. Now I’m not saying all of his non-kid films are something to rave about certainly Vampire in Brooklyn is a shining example of pure shit. However, The Nutty Professor was smashing success and that wasn’t targeted for kids necessarily. Look, don’t get me wrong. I understand why people like Murphy and Myers agree to do kiddy movies. It’s less risky and a guaranteed paycheck. However, what is the risk of going back to your roots and giving the people what they really want? Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.

When I think of these two actors I can’t help but think of a quote from Conan the Barbarian. (Yes, I’m going to make a connection to Conan right now) There’s a scene where King Osric says to Conan, “There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father's love for his child.” Forget the last part about the fathers love for his child, but focus on the beginning. At this point in their careers when is it enough? Money can’t buy happiness or laughter. Granted some parts of Shrek are funny, but not as funny Beverly Hills Cop or Wayne’s World. After a while of doing the same stuff it all becomes recycled bullshit and a prison they are encased in.

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