This weekend Eddie Murphy returns to theaters with the film Imagine That, where he plays a down-on-his-luck businessman who begins to receive some unusual support (and great stock tips) from his young daughter's imaginary friends. Imagine That marks another family comedy for Murphy, who's slowly moved his career into PG territory these past few years versus the old, foul-mouthed Eddie we remember from back in the 1980s and early 90s. So in honor of the many ways Murphy has entertained us over the years, here now are what I consider to be his top five roles.
1. Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop 1 & 2 – When searching for vintage Eddie Murphy characters, look no further than the first two installments in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise (we'll try to forget the third one actually exists somewhere in a dumpster). Murphy is at his R-rated best here, churning out one-liners as if his life depended on it. Both films are hilarious, fun and totally worth a watch.
2. Prince Akeem, Coming to America – This was one of the first times Murphy played multiple roles in one film, going so far as to play an old, white Jewish barber at one point. Here, he's an African king looking for his queen … and where else would he look but, um, Queens, New York.
3. Sherman Klump, The Nutty Professor – Murphy upped the multiple role ante in this hilarious remake, which helped the actor segue to more family-friendly fare. This movie is probably best known for the dinner table scene, where Murphy played four members of the Klump family, including Grandma and Mama Klump, as well as two other characters, too.
4. Kit Ramsey, Bowfinger – This underrated comedy stars Steve Martin as a desperate movie producer who, instead of casting the biggest actor in Hollywood (played by Eddie Murphy), he chases after the actor's dim-witted twin brother (also played by Murphy). Hilarity ensues.
5. Donkey, Shrek – Most kids these days know Eddie Murphy as the voice of Donkey in all three Shrek movies, as well as various Shrek specials. He's funny, he's animated and he's poised to make his return when the fourth Shrek movie, Shrek Forever After, hits theaters next year.
Now it's your turn: Tell us some of your favorite Eddie Murphy roles.