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KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN (review)

kevin_hart_let_me_explainKEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN
Directed by Leslie Small and Tim Story

Starring Kevin Hart

KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN is the first stand-up performance to get a theatrical release in quite some time. In fact, I’m rather hard pressed to think of the last time I saw one in a theatre, if ever. Also, if I’m being completely honest, I had never even heard of Kevin Hart before this. Now, you may be asking yourself, “How the hell has this guy never heard of Kevin Hart?” Well, if you generally don’t watch comedy and it’s not like his scenes in THIS IS THE END were all that memorable, then there is your answer. But apparently he is quite the big deal among certain audiences, and his movie makes sure that you know that.

Opening in “Present Day” Manhattan, overly polished titles, gleaming with lens flare, give the feel of a Hollywood action franchise, as we scan the city skyline before arriving at a party, thrown by none other than Mr. Hart himself. As he makes the rounds with his guests, it seems to be that he either isn’t liked much or is always getting himself into trouble, to which he responds, “Let me explain,” over and over again. Since this is the title of the movie, one can expect that, yes, eventually we will get an explanation.  Hart, having had enough of not being listened to, decides that he is going to put on a show at Madison Square Garden and people will then have to listen to him. Cue the CLOVERFIELD-like exodus of the incredibly non-funny actors at the party, who begin making their way to the theatre.

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The film then cuts to Hart talking about how he is an international success and YouTube sensation with millions of hits. As he travels around Canada, The Netherlands and the UK with his show, we are given clips of audience members talking about how funny Kevin is and how much they enjoyed the show. 20 minutes has gone by at this point and he still hasn’t made a single joke, let alone said anything worth laughing over. Then the clips finally come to an end and we are brought into Madison Square Garden, to what looks to be like a Justin Bieber stage set-up (not that I’ve been), but Hart readily admits he copied a Kayne and Jay-Z show. He obviously thinks himself something of a pop star, and the crowd goes wild as flames erupt from the stage and he begins his routine.

I will be completely honest; for much of the performance, I didn’t laugh, and the silence in the movie theatre for most of it indicates to me that not many others found it funny either. But the on-screen audience continues to roar in their seats as Mr. Hart talks about relationships, his own fame and parenting, fairly typical stand-up comedy stuff, if you ask me. He tends to repeat his lines over and over with increasing volume and abrasive tone that reminded me of the cast of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. I don’t understand why they are always yelling and talking over one another, or why people even find that kind of humour funny to begin with, but I digress.

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It isn’t until LET ME EXPLAIN is about 3/4 of the way through that I actually started to find his comedy somewhat funny and the audience sitting around me began to laugh as well. I don’t know if it is because they (like me) were unfamiliar with his work and didn’t quite “get” his specific type of humour, or if that he just isn’t that funny to begin with. Still, as the movie progresses and he illuminates the stage over and over with shooting flames, his timing and delivery begin to have their desired effect and the audience was laughing, albeit not as hard as the ones in the movie. And just as I was starting to enjoy his storytelling (or rather, explaining), it comes to an abrupt halt and the credits roll.

KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN is admittedly, not my type of movie. That said, I can honestly say that even though it took some time, the chuckles he elicited from me were well deserved. The candidness in his jokes and his grateful attitude for even just being able to perform at Madison Square Garden, is touching and somewhat unexpected, which made me appreciate him as a human being, rather than strictly a comedian. I won’t be rushing out to see him again anytime soon, but his stand-up movie is an alright way to kill 75 minutes of your time, if you’re into that sort of thing, of course.

3

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