The Eddie Murphy vehicle Norbit is all over the map in terms of style, and that's part of its appeal—it's simultaneously genuinely sweet and totally vulgar without either tone canceling out the other. In fact, if anything, the innocuous love story at the movie's core gives the audience permission to laugh at jokes that would otherwise be considered racist, sexist, or just downright cruel. Norbit makes jokes at the expense of the handicapped, the overweight, and a broad array of ethnicities, but it rarely feels mean-spirited. The filmmakers have so much obvious affection for their hapless hero and the eccentric supporting players who surround him that the movie ends up being charming rather than offensive.
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