I knew the story, I heard about it all. The film was shelved for two years, didn't get much publicity, and was released August of 2002. Releasing a major comedy with a huge budget 2 years after completion, with little publicity on almost the exact date of the 1-year anniversary of one of the biggest tragedies to ever hit the US... Seriously, did the studio even think when they tried to push this film out? I can only assume not. Critics crucified it. Audiences ignored it. It was a flop.
I went along, blindly following the notion that because it flopped, it sucked. (Although, I have found out that many great films flopped, among them "It's a Wonderful Life.") Finally a few months ago, a friend of mine said: "Hey Adam, let's watch 'Pluto Nash'! It's on NetFlix!" I scoffed, but after he persisted, I agreed.
I'm glad I did.
"Pluto Nash" was refreshingly entertaining, and in no way was it the abysmal slight against cinema I had been told it was.
The film centers on Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy in a fun performance), his sidekick robot Bruno (Randy Quaid in perhaps my favorite performance in the film) and Dina Lake (the astonishingly beautiful Rosario Dawson), with numerous other actors in supporting roles. Nash is the owner the nightclub "Club Nash", on the moon, some time in the future. He bought the club to save the life of a friend (Jay Mohr), who has since become a famous "singer" in a snazzy upscale part of the moon, leaving Nash behind. Dina arrives, hoping to work for Nash in order to earn money to buy her way back to Earth.
Soon, henchmen sent by the mysterious Rex Crater arrive, interested in buying Nash's club. When Nash turns them down, they destroy the place. Nash, Dina and Bruno vow to discover who this Rex Carter is, and stop him.
And so begins this fun action/comedy/sci-fi feature. In all honesty, the story is cliché, but it actually works quite well. This isn't supposed to be a revolutionary masterpiece, it's meant to be a fun good-guys-VS-bad-guys-buddy-movie type film, only set on the moon in the future. The characters are quite endearing and likable as well. They feel like people you'd want to hang out with.
The special effects (which were unfairly criticized at the time) are surprisingly good, considering they were from 2000 (remember, the film was finished but shelved for two years), and the direction of Ron Underwood is quite nice. Visually, the film is a treat.
The cast works. Murphy, Dawson and Quaid are all great in their roles, and supporting characters are played very well by some big names, such as Peter Boyle, Pam Greir, Burt Young and even a cameo by Alec Baldwin.
The music is fun, the editing is great, the set design is exquisite, the acting is generally very good, the direction is fantastic, the story is decent enough. I really can't say much. The craftsmanship is very competent. It's not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination from any conceivable way you look at it. Is it a particularly strong film? No. But is it a halfway decent film with some laughs and some heart? Yes, it is most definitely. I also admire the fact that this film isn't ashamed of being light-hearted and positive. A lot of films (especially these days) try to be dark and gritty. It's nice to see just a positive, fun film.
I honestly can't understand how this was so hated by critics upon release, and so ignored by the general public. It's a very fun movie, and I had a blast watching it. I will gladly be buying this flick sometime soon, and sharing it with others, so they can finally see this treat they missed out on.
I give "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" a good 7 out of 10. It's lighthearted fun.