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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Show-offs on The Tightrope

I’ve always liked Eddie Murphy because, even as Donkey in Shrek, he’s a show-off.  In the Beverly Hills Cops series, he plays Axel Foley (again a show-off).  It is with great amusement and even glee that I observe his impertinence, not to say insubordination.  He teases with great panache authority but especially the self-important.  It’s sometimes hard to define which characteristic of the show-off is primary—raw courage or a devil may care attitude.  Since Axel and Donkey care a lot, we must decide in their case that it is courage and an irrepressible desire to triumph.  Real life examples of show-offs are noticeably present during the teen years.  Many are those students who silently envy the boldness of the show-off.  But few have what it takes to pull it off successfully—to walk the thin line between brashness and laughter on the one hand and outright insubordination and punishment on the other.  Perhaps it’s worth noting that in the first Beverly Hills Cop, Axel in the end was escorted (in a friendly manner) out of town.

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