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You have to read it as a fairy tale or you will be disappointed...
Unfortunately, the P&A on Norbit lead many to perceive the film as a straight forward comedy. And, if you read the text of the film as such, it will, for many spectators, fail (i.e. stereotypical, racist, sexist, fatphobic, etc). However, if you read the film as the fairy tale that it is, then all of the humor, themes, and subtext make much more sense. Norbit contains many of the fairy tale conventions: our outcast hero (Norbit) with mysterious beginnings (abandoned, orphaned, no lineage -- like many a comic book hero) who is in debt to an evil witch (Rasputia) who bonds with him in order to feed her own ego (i.e. Snow White's and Cinderella's stepmoms to fuel there own ego) and her henchmen (brothers); the princess (Kate) who needs rescuing from certain destruction (Deon, Rasputia & the brothers). The broad comedic elements (i.e. children flying thru the air; Rasputia emptying all of the water from the pool) point to the fantastic elements of fairytaledome. There is even a "greek chorus" of sorts (the pimps-cum-restauranteurs) and a wise old adviser (Mr. Wong) who speaks truth but no one listens, and a sympathetic citizenry that knows the hero's plight but is helpless to do anything about it until the hero does. other fairy tale conventions include weddings (i.e. another murphy fairy tale, "Coming to America"); the Norbit character even refers early on to his own life as being just like a fairy tale... hello!
The production design is hyperreal with saturated colors and high contrast lighting. the underscore tips you off to the whimsical elements as well. and, the fact that the outcast hero (the man-boy norbit with an IQ 10 points above Forrest Gump) sees what others don't see, figures out the plan of destruction, foils the plan, and winds up with the beautiful princess at the end (who was his childhood love -- i.e. Forrest and Jenny), living happily ever after. This is the penultimate characteristic of fairy tales. fairy tales intentionally defy realism/believability and compel the viewer to find the deeper meaning, or serve as allegory for larger socio-cultural issues (good vs. evil; family is what you make of it as an orphan; redefining notions of the "traditional family;" beauty is skin deep; beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- kate -- etc). think Shrek, Forrest Gump...
In a final analysis, Norbit borrows from many of our favorite fairy tales and in doing so, presents them in familiar forms that in this instance, happen to be culturally, ethnically, and gender specific. using mostly "low" comedy (i.e. scatological) which is characteristic of many Murphy films (i.e. farting, anal probing, etc), it relies on our understanding of racial/ethnic/gender stereotypes to make us laugh. whether this is your cup-o'-tea is of another matter; but as Hollywood movie making trends continue to appeal to not only domestic audiences, but global audiences, Norbit strives for a "universality" to its humor -- not something that only a domestic audience would find funny.