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MEET DAVE – John Debney

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A desperately unfunny sci-fi comedy, Meet Dave is the latest box office disaster from Eddie Murphy, who seems to have squandered all the goodwill he received for his performance in Dreamgirls in just three short years. Directed by Brian Robbins, Meet Dave stars Murphy as the captain of a crew of miniature aliens, who operate a spaceship that looks like a human (also Murphy), and who have come to Earth to find a way to save their dying planet. However, things start to go wrong for the captain and his crew when, somewhat inexplicably, the spaceship falls in love with an Earth woman named Gina (Elizabeth Banks).

Poor old John Debney seems to get suckered into scoring every other crappy comedy Hollywood excretes from its system, but to give him his due he keeps his standards high while all other elements of the project seem to flounder. There’s a sense of ooh-aah wonderment to the opening “Orb Arrives on Earth”, with its fluttering piccolos and cooing choirs, but thereafter the score tend to veer into the realms of the predictable. Part of the problem, I’m sure, was a lack of inspiration in the source material, so rather than write anything new and improved, Debney resorted to pulling music from his old bag of reliable tricks.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the music – it’s well written and orchestrated, lively and fun, generally light and tuneful – but it’s all so conventional that it almost sounds like a pastiche of itself. There are urban beats to score the contemporary city scenes in “Gina Runs into Dave”, militaristic sci-fi space music in “Dave’s System Check” (which sounds like an amalgamation of Star Trek II and Cutthroat Island), a dash of whimsical caper music, some comedy mickey-mousing here and there, some helter-skelter action music (“Dave to the Rescue”), and a sweet string, guitar and woodwind love theme for Dave and Gina which crops up in cues such as “A Kiss in the Park” and “Urban Camping with Dave”.

Overall, and although Debney’s thematic and textural nuances remain pleasant, it’s a very lightweight work with few standout moments – much like the film it accompanies.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Orb Arrives on Earth (1:33)
  • Dave Comes to Earth (1:41)
  • Gina Runs into Dave (1:22)
  • Dave’s System Check (2:22)
  • Addressing the Crew (1:01)
  • Drunken Man in Alley (1:41)
  • Whipping Eggs (1:13)
  • A Kiss in the Park (0:56)
  • Welcome to Old Navy (1:55)
  • Deli Robbers (1:53)
  • Gina’s Painting (1:24)
  • Urban Camping with Dave (1:32)
  • Dave to the Rescue (1:19)
  • Standoff (1:01)
  • I’m in Charge Now (1:19)
  • Evil Dave Blasts Police Station (1:22)
  • Reinforcements Arrive (0:49)
  • Never Argue with a Female (1:11)
  • Betrayal/Mini Dave No. 3 (2:56)
  • Saved by the Bugs/Dave’s True Feelings (1:33)
  • Hailing a Cab (0:44)
  • The Battle Begins (2:10)
  • I Am Dave Ming Chang (2:05)
  • Saving Earth (1:22)
  • Power Shutdown (1:24)
  • Mini Dave Apologizes (2:56)
  • Blast Off and Return (2:12)

Running Time: 42 minutes 56 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6906 (2009)

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