Australian Council on Children and the Media

Norbit

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Sex, Viol., Lang.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Norbit
  • a review of Norbit completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 22 February 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended for children under 15 due to sexual references and scenes, violence and coarse language.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Norbit
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate sexual references
Length 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After being thrown from a speeding car as a baby, Norbit grows up at Mr. Wong’s (Eddie Murphy) Chinese restaurant and orphanage. He is befriended by an orphan named Kate and later by young girl called Rasputia, who becomes his protector from the local sandpit bullies. 

A number of years later a now adult Norbit (Eddie Murphy) is married to, and totally dominated by, Rasputia (also Eddie Murphy) and her three muscle-bound extortionist brothers Big Jack (Terry Crews), Earl (Clifton Powell) and Blue (Lester Speight). One day Norbit comes home early and is devastated when he finds Rasputia in bed with her aerobics instructor Buster (Marlon Wayans). However Norbit’s devastation is short lived when a grown-up Kate (Thandie Newton) re-enters the picture. Kate is back in town to buy the old orphanage from Mr. Wong and marry her fiance Deion (Cuba Gooding Jr.). However Deion intends to cheat Kate out of her orphanage which he intends to turn into a strip club with Rasputia and her three brothers.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Orphans, domestic violence, obesity

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Most of the violence in this film is intended to be comic but several scenes depict  more realistic and disturbing violence, including several scenes of domestic violence. Examples include:

  • A baby wrapped in a blanket is thrown from a speeding car to bounce along the road, and left unattended for several hours during which time it is sniffed at by coyotes.
  • A young Norbit is playing with a duck under a table when the duck is snatched from him, beheaded (not shown) and the severed head tossed back to Norbit. 
  • Mr. Wong makes his orphans hold a wooden whale, which he harpoons with a whaling spear. The spear goes through the wooden whale, scaring the children who run away screaming.
  • Two young boys attack a young Norbit, smashing his sandcastle, pushing him to the ground and punching him in the face and body. The two boys are then attacked by a young Rasputia who lifts the two boys off the ground knocks their heads together and then throws them to the ground.
  • A young Norbit is knocked off of his feet and sent flying through the air when he is hit by a playground swing.
  • In an effort to extort money, Rasputia’s three brothers physically intimidate shop owners hitting them with clubs, pushing one shop owner’s head into a pot of bolognese sauce.
  • One of Rasputia’s bothers threatens to attack Norbit with razorblades and lemon juice.
  • Rasputia slaps Norbit hard across the face.
  • Rasputia knocks over a mailman sending him flying and he is later seen wearing a neck-brace.
  • Rasputia runs down a small dog with her car. The sound of a thump and a dog yelping is heard when the car collides with the dog. The audience is told that the dog is in hospital, and later the dog is seen with wheels attached to its hind quarters and both back legs bandaged.
  • Rasputia’s brothers shoot a sideshow attendant with BB guns.
  • After some children steal Rasputia’s hat she threatens “Give me that hat or I’ll tear your heads off”. Later Rasputia attacks the children on a jumping castle sending several of the children flying through the air to land on the ground. One girl is thrown hard against the castle’s wall and is knocked unconscious.
  • Rasputia pushes a heavy speaker onto Norbit’s head knocking him unconscious and hospitalising him.
  • While having a bikini wax, Rasputia kicks the attendant in the face, knocking her out.
  • While recovering in hospital, Kate threatens Norbit in a joking manner with defibrillator paddles.
  • Rasputia drives her sports car in a dangerous reckless manner eventually crashing it into other cars and becoming pinned against the steering wheel.
  • Rasputia throws Norbit through a glass window and he ends up lying unconscious on the ground.
  • When threatening Norbit with violence against Kate, Rasputia pours acid over a potato shaped in the image of Kate’s head and states “This is what will happen to the bitch.”
  • While Norbit is riding his bike next to a car, Rasputia reaches out and grabs him, forcing him against the side of the car and pulling his head into the car.  He almost rides his bike into an oncoming car and is then forced off the road down the side of a hill and crashes into a pond.
  • A man has his fingers slammed beneath the lid of an organ.
  • One of Rasputia’s brothers punches a man in the face while in church.
  • Rasputia fights two men using a shovel, one man defends himself with a pizza shovel, while a second defends himself with a prosthetic leg. Rasputia picks up an elderly woman spins her around in the air and then throws her through the air to land onto a pile of flowers.
  • Mr. Wong hurls a whaling spear at Rasputia, impaling her in the buttock. After which Mr. Wong states “Right in the blow hole.”

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, children under the age of five may find the threatening appearance and manner of Rasputia and her three brothers scary.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

It is unlikely that any scenes or images in this film would disturb children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that any scenes or images in this film would disturb children in this age group.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

Crude sexual references are made continuously throughout the film. Jokes are made in relation to women, gay and lesbian relationships, car sex, condoms and prostitution. Examples include.
•Norbit is served a portion of chicken referred to a “Turkey arse,” the portion visually resembled a human buttock. When Norbit is served the meal he is told “Bon appetitty.”
•A man states “Back when I was in the game” made in reference to the prostitution of women.
•A man states “No need to buy milk if you can own the cow.” Made in reference to Norbit having sexual relations with Rasputia.
•In reference to the size of Norbit’s penis Mr. Wong states “Norbit had a pee pee the size of an egg roll.”
•When Rasputia tell Norbit that she is pregnant she tells him that “My titties are itching.”
•In reference to the appearance of Rasputia’s buttocks, her dance instructor states “That looks like the harvest moon.”
•Two men make reference to the good old days when they were “pimping”. The same two men made reference to “Selling bitches to Johns, and selling Johns to bitches.”
•When Buster (dance instructor) came over to visit Rasputia Norbit states “There’s cold beer in the fridge and clean sheets on the bed so have a good dance lesson.” 
•A girl tells two men “I want to be a whore, where do I apply?”
•Rasputia tells Kate “I can’t keep Norbit off me…he put my head through the bed head every night.”
•When Rasputia is about to have a bikini wax she states “Got to go mow the lawn.” Following the waxing Rasputia looks down at the waxed area and states “I was looking for Norbit’s police whistle.”

Nudity and sexual activity


There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:
•Rasputia, wearing skimpy lingerie (cleavage, legs and abdomen are visible), jumps onto Norbit knocking him back on to the bed, which breaks under their weight (this happens several times in fetish wear).
•During a dance class Buster lies on the floor with a woman straddled across his chest with her crotch in his face.
•One scene contains a painting of a nude woman with spinning propellers attached to her nipples.
•Norbit comes home early and hears noises coming from his bedroom. He opens the door and finds Rasputia naked in bed with Buster (Dance instructor) both are covered to the shoulder with blankets. Buster gets out of the bed uncovered and we see his bare chest, buttocks and legs.
•Rasputia, wearing revealing clothing, dances on stage in a strip club and sits in a chair and pours water over her body.
•While Norbit is lying in a hospital bed, Kate leans over him. When Norbit looks down Kate’s top his heart monitor rapidly increases.
•When Rasputia goes to a pool she wears a bikini, but it appears as though she is not wearing any bikini bottoms. When questioned by an attendant she lifts a large roll of stomach fat to show the attendant her bikini bottoms. 
•Rasputia gets into a bubble bath, showing her bare back and the side of one breast.
•Rasputia, while wearing skimpy clothing and covered in soap suds, leans over a car simulating an exotic dance while washing it and pressing body parts against the glass etc. The scene is an imitation of Paris Hilton's car-washing commercial.
•There are several images of women wearing swimsuits that reveal cleavage, bare abdomens, legs and backs.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:
•During a wedding a man drinks an unknown substance from a flask and other people drink champagne.
•In a restaurant Norbit and Kate drink wine together.
•Rasputia and Buster smoke cigarettes in bed.
•Two men smoke cigarettes.
•Kate and Norbit drink wine coolers together while dancing.
•Rasputia’s brothers discuss acquiring an alcohol licence.
•People are depicted consuming alcohol in a strip club.

Coarse language

The film Norbit contains continuous low level coarse language, putdowns and racist comments, including:
•When Mr. Wong finds Norbit as a baby he states, “A black one - you can’t give these ones away.” followed by, “You’re an ugly one.”
•“When you answer the phone try to act white.”
•“You stupid orphan.”
•“You married a gorilla.”
•“Get your stupid black arse back here.”
•“Get your arse up and hold my hand.”
•“Bug eyed bastard arse.” “I’m tired of playing with your arse.”
•“Saddle tramp whore.” 
•“Go clean that shit up”.
•“You screwy dame.”
•“Norbit you’re pissing off everyone today.”      
•Damn, arse, bitch, God damn it, Jesus Christ, Tramp, Pimping whore, Little bastards, Hell, Mother of god, For Christ sake,  

Other material that may offend
•Norbit and Kate (aged seven years) sit on a toilet next to each other with the pants around their ankles the audience is told that they learnt to “poo poo” together
•There are a couple of scenes depicting Rasputia passing gas loudly flatulence
•Mr. Wong tells Norbit that when he was living in China he sold his two-year-old daughter for a Yak.
•Rasputia’s brothers pass Mr. Wong a piece of paper with an offer written on it to purchase Mr. Wong’s restaurant. Mr Wong replies that he will make a counter offer, he then picks up the paper puts it down the back of his pants, as if using it to wipe his buttocks, and hands it back to Rasputia’s brothers.
•Mr Wong made reference to Norbit being bitten on the buttock by a snake, saying “bite Norbit on arse very close to hole,” Mr. Wong then made reference to considering having to suck the poison out of Norbit’s buttocks.  
•At one point Mr. Wong refers to a Chinese snuff film.

In a nutshell

Norbit contains predictable crude, sexist, and racist humour and disturbing comedic violence.

The film’s main message is about persevering through adversity and fighting back against those who would dominate and oppress in order to find true love and happiness.

Parents may wish to question the negative stereotyping of Afro-Americans and overweight people, and the sexism and domestic violence shown in the film.

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