One of a select few actors that managed to become a breakout star on Saturday Night Live, during Eddie Murphy’s heyday it was amazing to see how much more popular than his costars he was. As a result, it didn’t take too long for him to make the leap to the big screen where he managed to become a comedy superstar.
Obviously a truly hilarious person, Eddie Murphy has been a key ingredient to the success of a long list of films that are now considered by most to be classics. Sadly, for a long time now it has seemed like Murphy has been going through the motions more often than not which has resulted in his lackluster performances taking away from films. With that in mind, it is time to get to this list of 7 movies that Eddie Murphy ruined and 8 that he saved.
15 Saved: Life
A movie that often fails to get the credit it deserves, Life should be included on lists of Eddie Murphy’s best films regularly. Absolutely hilarious alongside co-star Martin Lawrence in this film, both actors give their counterpart time to shine while also making the most out of every moment they have on screen.
14 Ruined: I Spy
At the height of Eddie Murphy’s career, the prospect of him sharing the screen with another comedy superstar was extremely exciting. Unfortunately, when he co-starred with Owen Wilson in I Spy, the two experienced comedy stars had no chemistry which made it a chore to sit through this sad excuse for a movie.
13 Saved: The Nutty Professor
In the hands of a lesser comedic actor, The Nutty Professor would have been a tasteless comedy that offended many viewers and failed to make people laugh, a la Shallow Hal. However, Murphy did such a great job as the main character that most viewers empathized with him. On top of that, he also played a long list of other characters in the movie that people enjoyed.
12 Ruined: A Thousand Words
When the trailers for A Thousand Words first came out, it seemed like a movie that had some potential to be harmless fun. Instead, once the movie came out it quickly became clear just how unenjoyable it turned out to be. Nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his part in the movie, casting Eddie Murphy in a role where he couldn’t use his voice was a disastrous decision.
11 Saved: 48 Hrs.
In a lot of ways the film that turned Eddie Murphy into a superstar, fans loved him when he starred in Saturday Night Live but 48 Hrs. made him a movie leading man. Cast alongside Nick Nolte in this buddy cop comedy of sorts, Murphy’s con-man character made moviegoers laugh even as he helped take down a crew of hardened criminals.
10 Ruined: Meet Dave
Due to Eddie Murphy’s disappointing turn in Meet Dave, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that he got nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor for his part in the film. However, we never expected him to also get nominated for Worst Screen Couple with himself even though his portrayal of Eddie Murphy in Eddie Murphy was unwatchable on both fronts.
9 Saved: Trading Places
Aside from some scenes that wouldn’t fly today, Trading Places remains a brilliant comedy that has a lot to say about our society as a whole. Cast as Billy Eay Valentine in the film, Eddie Murphy made the most out of playing a homeless man who suddenly finds himself on top of the business world. In fact, Murphy even received a Golden Globe Award for his work in the movie.
8 Ruined: Best Defense
One of those movies that you are baffled exists after you finish watching it, even Eddie Murphy himself thinks that Best Defense “sucked real bad”. Initially meant to star Dudley Moore alone, Murphy’s character was added to the film after test audiences found the movie to be unwatchable. Unfortunately for everyone, that led to Murphy’s scenes making an already bad movie also feel disjointed.
7 Saved: Beverly Hills Cop
Proving yet again that he is right at home in movies that blend genres, Axel Foley from this action-comedy has become one of Eddie Murphy’s most popular characters. Cast as a fish out of water Detroit cop who has been dropped into the over the top world of Beverly Hills, Murphy’s reactions had us in stitches and we totally bought him as a street cop.
6 Ruined: Ruined: Beverly Hills Cop III
Far from the worst movie on the ruined side of this list, we still find Eddie Murphy’s work in Beverly Hills Cop III to be the most disappointing performances on this list. After all, he went from being the highlight of the first two Beverly Hills Cop movies to making us want to cry we were so disappointed in his joyless return to portraying Axel Foley in this film.
5 Saved: Shrek Series
With this entry, we’re giving you an entire franchise since Eddie Murphy is the actor who is most responsible for the Shrek movies’ success in our opinion. After all, Mike Myers may play the series’ titular character but it is Murphy’s Donkey that gets the lion’s share of the franchise’s laughs.
4 Ruined: The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Considering that The Adventures of Pluto Nash remains one of the biggest movie flops of all time to this day, it is safe to say this film is a blight on Eddie Murphy’s filmography. Largely responsible for the film’s failure, Murphy fails to land a single joke in a truly abysmal film that should be avoided if at all possible.
3 Saved: Dreamgirls
Given the fact that Eddie Murphy’s own music career failed to really take off even as he was one of the world’s most popular actors and comedians, his casting in Dreamgirls seemed questionable. Thankfully, it seems hard to overstate how great Murphy was in the movie which is why the Academy recognized him with an Oscar nomination that he should’ve won.
2 Ruined: Norbit
Back when Eddie Murphy was on top of the comedy world, seeing that he was playing multiple characters in a movie was a very exciting thing. Sadly, when it comes to Norbit it was the exact opposite as he did a really bad job playing both of the movie’s two lead characters.
1 Saved: Coming to America
Far and away the most enjoyable Eddie Murphy movie of all time in our opinion, Coming to America is such a timeless love story and comedy that we can’t get enough of it. Clearly the best aspect of this comedy classic, Murphy managed to make a prince seem incredibly spoiled in one scene then relatable in the next while making us laugh throughout it all. Of course, that also is to say nothing about the other fantastic characters Murphy played in the film.