Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Some laughs but no substance in racy stand-up movie.
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain is Hart's fourth stand-up "concert" film. It includes a prologue set at a party (with drinking) and scenes of Hart traveling all over the world meeting fans; similar bits appear during the epilogue, with the hour-long stand-up act in between. Language is the strongest issue, with almost constant use of "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, and others. Hart's act also includes strong sexual innuendo (such as references to oral sex and sex with a bean bag chair), as well as plenty of drug references (he talks about taking Ecstasy and imagines himself as a drug dealer). There's also talk of going to clubs and drinking quite often, as well as references to being drunk (and drunk driving). Some of Hart's material references violence, such as an attempt to disarm a gunman outside a club. Hart fans will love this, but it's not likely to convert newcomers.
What's the story?
At a party, comedian Kevin Hart is accosted by many of his guests, who ask him pointed questions and show general disapproval for the things he's said and done. He decides to "explain" everything by putting on a show at Madison Square Garden and storms out of the party. After showing all the places he's been in the world in flashbacks, Hart goes on stage (where he has a "shooting fire" effect). He talks about being divorced, relationships with women, and his relationships with his kids. Finally, when he finishes, he's moved to tears by the audience's appreciation and for being one of only a few comedians ever to play the Garden.
Is it any good?
On the whole, Hart's material here veers toward the lowbrow. It doesn't quite hit the heights of cleverness, talent, language, or delivery that predecessors like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock reached. Ranging between cockiness and buffoonery, Hart is at his best when he lands somewhere in the middle, making fun of himself and his celebrity, rather than skewering his friends, former girlfriends, and employees. (He doesn't even generate much warmth when talking about his kids.)
The movie's best moment comes when Hart accidentally cracks himself up during a routine about bums (saying the phrase "bum bump"). His genuine laughter there is quickly infectious. Otherwise, this is a case, like Eddie Murphy's Raw (1988), wherein the enormous success of the comedian has resulted in a movie that tries too hard to build energy out of mediocre material. Still, although newcomers aren't likely to be converted, KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN does have enough laughs to make it worthwhile for fans.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about Kevin Hart's many references to drinking in Let Me Explain. Does he make drinking sound appealing, or does it sound like a problem? Does it change your perspective at all to find out that he was arrested on a DUI charge in April 2013?
- Are Hart's sexual references funny? Should sex be a serious topic? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on this subject.
- Does Hart use stereotypes in his act, especially when it comes to women? Is it OK to use stereotypes for humor?
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