Kevin Hart has to do a lot of work to 'Explain'
In the timeline of the standard stand-up comic's career, Kevin Hart has surged past “young, angry and hungry,” seems to be avoiding Dave Chappelle / Andy Kaufman burnout and is settling just shy of fat, happy and car-collecting smug (Seinfeld, Leno, Chris Tucker).
The little man is so self-satisfied you could title his latest concert film “Ego Trippin.' ”
“Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” is a short film that captures a shorter set at New York's Madison Square Garden and pads it with a long, dead prologue (scripted) of Kevin busting up a party to go “explain” himself at the venue and footage of Hart asking people in Oslo, Stockholm and London, “Do you know who Kevin Hart is?”
In between his thank-yous to his audience for “selling out” another show, his entourage talking about the “global brand” the one-time star of “Soul Plane” has become — he has half a dozen films in the can, including a sequel to “Think Like a Man” — Hart launches into energetic / frenetic monologues about relationships, divorce, parenting, his need to lie and the various “crazy” women he's lied to.
“Don't judge,” he pleads. “Let me explain.”
So he does.
“I'm small,” he says, of why he has bodyguards. “I get scared fast!”
He can't just apologize for being late. Hart has to make up long, elaborate stories about babies running down the Interstate after a half deer / half zebra (“A deer-bra!”). That the baby turns out to have “Benjamin Button disease” is a clever stroke, one of too few.
Hart, who turns 33 as this film opens, is a better performer than writer. No smart comic starts his set with “I'm happy, people.” We like our funnymen and woman angry and dissatisfied. When you're riding in a Chevy Suburban convoy to two sold-out shows in New York's signature venue, it's hard to pretend that's the case.
He may protest, mid-rant, “You're laughing; I'm dead serious,” but we know he's not. Not when he's talking about some psychotic girlfriend hiding in the trunk of his car, or a son who actually thinks he's Spider-Man and takes the kindergarten beat-downs that come with not having really web-slinging powers.
OK, maybe the last one is true. But in “Let Me Explain,” you're never not aware that you're watching a good performer (his much funnier “Laugh at My Pain” concert film was a surprise hit in 2011) work too hard to make inferior material go over.
Roger Moore is a wroter for McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- First trailer for Pittsburgh-shot ‘Southpaw’ hits the Internet
- Review: A teenage girl’s nightmare realized in ‘It Follows’
- Review: Another E.T. is out of place on Earth in Dreamworks’ ‘Home’
- Review: Salt and pepper don’t add up to enough laughs in ‘Get Hard’
- Review: ‘Wild Tales’ sinks its teeth into 6 tales of revenge
- Documentary depicts Aliquippa man’s romantic quest, life with Asperger’s
- DVD reviews: ‘Into the Woods,’ ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ and ‘Unbroken’
- DEC grad to release horror movie filmed at Monessen library