is a movie released in 2008, about a human-sized spaceship crewed by tiny aliens from a planet called Nil. It stars Eddie Murphy
in two roles: the spaceship, which comes to be known as Dave Ming Cheng, and the ship's captain, known only as Captain.
The aliens come to Earth because Nil is facing imminent doom for want of salt, and they aim to solve this problem with a golf ball-sized orb that will extract all the salt from Earth's ocean. Unfortunately, the orb is knocked off course during its entry into Earth's atmosphere, so the aliens must search New York City to find it. During the search, Dave meets a young boy, Josh, who recently had the orb in his possession, and Josh's attractive single mother, Gina. More than a few complications occur (along with a good deal of laughs
) as the Captain gets to know Earth's people in general, and Gina in particular (with whom he becomes rather smitten).
The film's credited writers are Bill Corbett
and Rob Greenberg
. Corbett has gone on record as saying that the final film differs radically from the last draft they wrote.
This film provides examples of:
- Alien Lunch: Gina hands Dave a bottle of ketchup while preparing a meal, and Dave proceeds to drink about half of it.
- Aliens Steal Cable: And figure out how to navigate the internet on the side.
- All There in the Manual: The DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the film contain featurettes that explain a little more about the culture of planet Nil and the characters' backgrounds (No. 4 is apparently tall for a Nillian; No. 3 was No. 2's personal assistant at one point; and, in a rather dark turn, any Nillian who shows emotions is killed on the spot, which makes you wonder if this will happen to the crew when they return to the uninfluenced planet),as well as revealing the 'numbers' of some of the characters whose are not blatantly stated in the film (for example, the Head Engineer is Number 10).
- Anti-Mutiny: Number Two stages one of these after the Captain and many of the crew become preoccupied with having fun on Earth, and having the gall to interact in a respectable fashion with the "behemoths" Josh and Gina.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: the aliens learn of Earth's status as a Crapsack World by scanning the covers of assorted magazines, depicting war, pollution, Britney Spears...
- Ax-Crazy: Number Two, following the anti-mutiny.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Invoked when Number Two reverts the ship to its white suited default form before taking it on a rampage.
- Camp Gay: Number Four, the ship's security officer, was originally quite the manly type, but exposure to Earth culture causes him to become one of these instead.
- Captain Ersatz: as befits the Star Trek homage, we have Gabrielle Union as Uhura, and Expies of McCoy and Seven of Nine can be spotted.
- Chekhov's Stun Gun: at one point the ship is "KO'ed" and paramedics "resuscitate" it with a defibrillator. This gives Josh the idea to do the same thing later with a taser.
- Contrived Coincidence: Take your pick between the MacGuffin landing in the room of the boy whose mom accidentally hits Dave with a car when he arrives three months later, or one of the officers assigned to investigate the crater from Dave's landfall being the Agent Mulder.
- Crash-Into Hello: If Gina hitting Dave with her car doesn't count...
- Fish out of Water: Played a little better than most, the aliens are relatively new to Earth culture, but are actually able to deduce most things and not stand out too horribly.
- Friend or Idol Decision: At the climax of the movie, Dave is left with just enough power to either get the orb out of the ocean, saving Earth, or lift off and return home to Nil. Luckily, Josh's quick thinking enables the aliens to do both .
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Stu Price is the villain.
- I Am Spartacus: After the Captain regains control of Dave following the anti-mutiny, he asks the crew for their input regarding the decision of whether or not they should save Earth.
Number Three: I say we save Earth. I no longer feel like Number Three. My life began on this planet. I am Dave Ming Cheng!
I have 443 new friends on MySpace
, and a J-date next week with Sheila Moscowicz. I am Dave Ming Cheng!
(One by one, other crew members from all over the ship declare proudly, "I am Dave Ming Cheng!"...except for Number Four, the security officer.)
I am Johnny Dazzles, and I am fabulous!
* What? Not everybody
has to be Dave Ming Cheng.
- Is This Thing Still On?: when the ship is taken into custody by the police, Number Two begins his mutiny, but doesn't realize at firtst that the communication system is still open. Hence the two cops who were interrogating "Dave" hear him fiercely arguing with himself, until Number Two realises it and order to close the speakers.
- Macguffin: The terraforming orb.
- Mobile-Suit Human/Humongous Mecha: At the same time.
- Oh, Crap: Dave has one of these moments, after he is reminded that the M in MRI (which he is about to undergo) stands for "magnetic". The Captain and Number Three share two Oh Crap moments after they are ejected from the ship by Number Two. One happens when they find themselves standing next to a fire hydrant that is about to be "marked" by a passing dog; the other happens shortly thereafter, when they are nearly run over by a taxi as the Captain tries to get Number Three unstuck from a piece of used bubble gum.
- Shout-Out: Dave's weapons transform in a similar way to Astro Boy's Arm Cannon (but fingertip-size).
- “Stop Having Fun” Guys: In-Universe. The Captain and crew's refusal to stop having fun is what causes Number Two to snap and stage the anti-mutiny.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: See “Stop Having Fun” Guys.
- Viewers Are Morons: Was originally titled "Starship Dave", but was changed because they didn't want people thinking it was a Sci-Fi movie (even though it technically is). Specifically, they didn't want people to associate it with The Adventures of Pluto Nash.note
- Whole Costume Reference: Turns out Dave's suit was based on Ricardo Montalban in Fantasy Island.
- You Are Number Six: Even their homeworld name Nil can mean 'zero'.