Jack (played by Nick Nolte): “Yeah.”
Reggie: “You know, the generosity of women never ceases to amaze me.”—48 Hours (1982), written by Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross and Steve E. de Souza, directed by Walter Hill
Few stars of recent decades have entered a worse, non-substance-abused-fueled downward career spiral than Eddie Murphy. Thirty years ago this past Saturday marked the premiere of 48 Hours, which launched the film career of the 21-year-old Saturday Night Live regular. From his entrance into that movie—where, for what feels like a few minutes, he’s seen but not heard, driving Nolte and an entire cellblock crazy with his rendition of The Police’s “Roxanne”—he drove at warp speed what otherwise was just another example of the buddies-against-their-will genre. The enormous success of that film would soon spark the even bigger moneymakers Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop.
It’s been hit-or-miss for Murphy fans since then. The latter part of the Eighties and early Nineties were marked by pallid sequels and lame originals such as Coming to America. Fans such as myself kept g hoping that the next movie would prove better—only it didn’t. He improved somewhat with Bowfinger, The Nutty Professor, and the Shrek franchise, where he offered delicious turns as Donkey, but lately he’s been on a downturn again, with a string of box-office flops--A Thousand Words, Meet Dave and Tower Heist—that, according to this Huffington Post article by Cavan Sieczkowski, has led him to being named "Most Overpaid Actor in Hollywood" by Forbes.
Forget all that and watch the original 48 Hours again, when Murphy was still a sharp young kid, before the ego got so big it couldn’t make it safely into a room, when nearly everything he touched seemed fresh and funny and golden.