10) (tie) Showtime (2002): A pairing of Murphy with the legendary Robert De Niro should have been a match made in comedy heaven, but instead this spoof of buddy cop movies and reality TV was shockingly lame.
10) (tie) I Spy (2002): In this second black-white buddy comedy of the year, Murphy failed to score laughs with someone who should have been ideal partner — Owen Wilson. This film was a real letdown for fans of the Bill Cosby series which loosely inspired it.
9) The Haunted Mansion (2003): The concept of Murphy in a horror comedy (think Zombieland) could be uproarious but unfortunately he went the family route with this one. The result wasn’t particularly funny or scary.
8) Best Defense (1984): Following the stellar one-two punch of 48 Hrs. and Trading Places, Murphy inexplicably co-starred in this tepid military comedy. Murphy mocked the film when hosting Saturday Night Live that same year, calling it “the worst movie in the history of everything.”
7) Beverly Hills Cop III (1994): After his classic original turn as Detroit cop Axel Foley (and its hit sequel), Murphy inexplicably turned in this fiercely unfunny entry that largely takes place in an amusement park. This effectively killed the franchise.
6) Holy Man (1998): Murphy played an unusually low energy character (a self-styled guru called ‘G’ who gets involved in a home shopping network) in what even he has called a “horrendous movie.”
5) Daddy Day Care (2003): This cornball family film may have been a decent-sized hit but it felt like the low-point of Murphy’s endless foray into family films. No one wants to see a comic genius making stupid poop jokes.
4) Meet Dave (2008): One of Murphy’s biggest bombs is also one of his oddest. Not sure why this got past the concept stage — the comedian plays a spaceship, yes, a spaceship.
3) Norbit (2007): Following his acclaimed dramatic turn in Dreamgirls, Murphy returned to the fatsuit gag (which worked wonders in The Nutty Professor) with mostly offensive results. Some say this film cost him the Oscar.
2) Imagine That (2009): Murphy told Rolling Stone, “Why am I in Imagine That? The movie didn’t have a chance at the box office – it’s just me and this little girl and a blanket.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
1) The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002): The space-based ‘comedy’ Pluto Nash wasn’t just Murphy’s biggest flop (it made $7 million despite a $100 million-plus budget) but one of the worst disasters in film history. “I know the two or three people that liked this movie,” Murphy said.
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We love Eddie Murphy at theGrio (see our picks for his 10 best film roles), but even he would admit that he’s had his share of critical and commercial duds. His new light comedy, A Thousand Words, doesn’t look like it’ll go down as a classic either. So far, the reviews have been atrocious, and some have argued that Murphy is simply earning a paycheck with this project. The Oscar nominated icon has often been one of his own harshest critics, knocking his roles in Holy Man, Best Defense and Imagine That after the fact. Here our picks for the 10 Eddie Murphy’s we wish he never made.