I hadn’t heard about this movie and I didn’t even watch a trailer before I walked in, so I had no idea what to expect. Eddie Murphy has been a bit absent from Hollywood lately, after his cartoony streak of The Nutty Professors and Shreks. The Eddie Murphy we see here is very different, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?
This is the story of a young girl (Natalie Coughlin, who grows up to become Britt Robertson) who wakes up one day to find that her family has a cook, who prepares all their meals. This cook (Mr. Church, played by Eddie Murphy) is cheerful and intelligent but mysterious and soon becomes part of this family. However, things turn sour when the mother (Natascha McElhone) gets cancer and it soon becomes Mr. Church’s job to do much more than just cook.
This is very much an “inspirational drama,” so you kind of know what you’re getting here. In short, bring your tissues.
The stars of this movie do a very commendable job, especially considering how “under the radar” this movie is. Eddie Murphy shows surprising restraint, never once resorting to the wise-cracking comedian that we’ve become used to. He even has a few very dark moments, which is likely what drew him to this project. We never really get to know him though, he remains a mystery, so the bulk of the story really relies on young Charlotte (Coughlin/Robertson). Both actresses do a stellar job, giving the movie heart, but I feel like their acting is better than the movie they’re actually in. Like they deserve better.
If you need some good cries, this movie will do it. It becomes a bit predictable for this genre, so you kind of know where it’s going, but a lot of folks will be fine with that.
While the performances were somewhere in the “good” to “great” range, the movie itself falls short. It’s predictable in that it hits on every note that every other drama like this hits on. You know there’s going to be tragedy and it doesn’t really do anything unique with it. It reminds me of Me Before You, the story of a young girl who becomes the caretaker of an injured bachelor and they fall in love. The writer of Mr. Church wrote this with the intention of pulling at your heartstrings but unfortunately you see the puppeteer the entire time. It’s very clear what they’re doing and there are no twists or turns that surprise you.
The main thing that compelled me was Mr. Church’s dark mysterious life but even that failed to really be anything interesting, which made the entire journey to get there uneventful.This movie was just underwhelming. Some “cry your eyes out” movies end and you feel like you were on a rollercoaster. This one, I felt like I had manipulated and it felt unearned.Overall…Great performances by Britt Robertson and Eddie Murphy can’t save this overdone emotional drama, absolutely predictable and unoriginal. The ride was interesting but the payoff at the end wasn’t worth it.