While generally regarded as a legend in the field of comedy, Eddie Murphy has ventured into truly dramatic material only a handful of times in his long career. Perhaps the most notable of these was 2007’s Dreamgirls, which earned Murphy an Oscar nomination for his performance. Unfortunately for fans of the once-dominant star, Murphy hasn’t been as active as he once was. Thus, the time seems ripe for Murphy to make a comeback. He’s already signed on for Beverly Hills Cop 4, and will soon try his hand at drama once again with the upcoming Mr. Church.
Based on true events, Mr. Church stars Murphy as the titular character, a man hired by the now-deceased patriarch of a struggling family to take care of them for awhile after his death. At first, daughter Charlotte (Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland) doesn’t know what to make of Church, who has quite a talent for cooking. Soon though, she and Church grow closer, and he remains a constant in her life. After her mother Marie’s (Natascha McElhone, Californication) death at a young age from cancer, the now grown-up Charlotte can’t afford to go to school, so Mr. Church assists. When she gets unexpectedly pregnant, he once again comes to her rescue, etc.
If it seems like a lot of the film’s plot was given away in the above paragraph, be warned that the Cinelou Films’ trailer for Mr. Church spells out even more, to the point where the trailer itself could possibly be considered a spoiler for those interested in seeing the final product. In fact, if one were to read over a plot synopsis for Mr. Church — which first did some festival screenings earlier this year — they would see that the trailer covers nearly every major plot point.
Inexplicably detailed trailer editing aside, Mr. Church represents an opportunity for Murphy to re-establish his dramatic bona fides, and perhaps replenish some of his stock as a member of Hollywood’s A-list. While this type of drama probably won’t break the bank at the box office, prestige pictures like Mr. Church are rarely made with goals like that in mind.
The real test will be how Murphy’s performance is received. The film, from director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy), certainly looks as though it fits the bill of a theatrical release aiming for at least one or two nods come awards season, so it will be interesting to see if that is the case and if Murphy is the one recognized. If not, well, there’s always the hope that Axel Foley will come along and save the day.
Mr. Church heads to theaters on September 16, 2016.
Source: Cinelou Films