Once upon a time, back in the mid-eightes, Eddie Murphy was so foul-mouthed and influential that Bill Cosby himself called to complain about the effect Murphy’s comedy was having on his children. This story is a highlight of Murphy’s 1987 comedy film Raw; it’s also a stark reminder of how much the Murphy brand has changed. Once the breakout star of Saturday Night Live and Beverly Hills Cop, after a string of flops, Murphy switched from bad role model to kid-friendly star, and he’s spent the last ten years shunning the spotlight, save for his zany appearances in family films. With Tower Heist, opening today, and his looming gig as the host of the Academy Awards, Murphy is making a play for grown-ups, but will audiences still accept him as a real comedian? To find out, we spoke to industry insiders to answer the question: If Eddie Murphy were a stock, should you buy, sell, or hold?
Rating: Weak Sell or Strong Hold, at least until after the Oscars.