MEET DAVE — * — Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union; rated PG (vulgarity, violence, slurs, profanity, brief partial nudity)

"Meet Dave"? Really? Do we have to?

What's really baffling about this disastrously awful, science-fiction comedy is that Eddie Murphy chose it — as well as last year's "Norbit" — as follow-up projects to "Dreamgirls," for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

Needless to say, this particular film won't be eligible for any year-end honors, save for bad-movie trophies such as the Golden Raspberry Awards.

Like "Norbit," Murphy takes on multiple roles here, including that of the title character. "He" is actually a man-size, man-shape spaceship that is carrying tiny extraterrestrials to Earth.

The captain of said ship (Murphy again, this time sporting a faux-Patrick Stewart accent) is troubled. He's supposed to be finding a way to drain the planet of its salt reserves, which will somehow restore his dying planet.

But instead, he winds up befriending a few earthlings, including froopy single mom Gina Morrison (Elizabeth Banks). Unbeknownst to Gina, her shy young son, Josh (newcomer Austyn Lynd Myers), possesses some of "Dave's" lost technology.

It's really not worth going any deeper into this material, which is credited to two television writers, except to say that it affords Murphy the opportunity to do more supposed "funny voices" and to plumb the depths of toilet gags and other vulgar humor yet again.

And for a big-budgeted feature, the computer graphics and accompanying effects really aren't very special. You'd expect to see chinzty-looking visual like this in one of those made-for-Sci-Fi-Channel cheese-fests not in a major studio release.

"Meet Dave" is rated PG for crude digestive humor and references (potty gags and the like) and some suggestive references, science-fiction action (laser blasts and explosive mayhem), derogatory slurs and language, scattered profanity (most of it fairly mild) and brief partial nudity (part of a male backside). Running time: 92 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com