Kevin Hart can sell-out football stadiums, at least in his home town of Philadelphia.
He can wear huge diamond-encrusted gold chains, a gold watch and bracelet, gold-topped sneakers, golden-zippered leather jacket and wield a gold-colored microphone when he does his stand-up.
He can cast himself as a short, comically inept James Bond in a 20 minute pre-concert gambling-and-action film co-starring Halle Berry and Don Cheadle.
And he can insult them, and take their threats and insults as he does.
He lives in a suburban mansion, and his problems include how private school is ruining his kids.
But even as Hart grows richer, more remote and seemingly less relate-able, there’s still manic hilarity in the little man. He’s still fearlessly fearful, defiantly shallow and amusingly self-effacing on stage.
“Kevin Hart: Now What?” is a self-satisfied, over-the-top concert film that finds the funny in “affluence,” embraces the narcissism of its star and the heartlessness in Hart.
He’s about to remarry, but only if “my lady,” who is trapped in a mental world ofo, isn’t attacked by a bobcat on their suburban property, or mangled by a shark after falling off the boat.
“She didn’t come like that. I’m not taking her home like that.”
Yeah, if she loses an arm and a leg to a shark, there’s no point in crawling back on the boat. He’s throwing her back in.
“Clean that plate, Mr. Shark!”
She’d better not have her shoulder bitten off.
“You can kiss halter-tops good-bye!”
Sexist and shallow and mercenary, sure. And thankfully, improbable. Most improbable of all, he hunts for laughs in a 36 year-old man’s first trip to Starbucks, ridiculing “the test” that placing an order in the well-established, jargon-filled franchise entails.
Hart plays “don’t go there” with his audience, which must have experienced this video-assisted “intimate” stadium show mostly through video screens.
Lies meant to cool the tempers of “Suspicious-minded women” and a seven year-old son fond of flip flops and gestures he’s learned from the long-haired white kids who are his school peers allow Hart to show off his acting chops.
He mugs, he does the rich white kids’ hair-toss that his son emulates, he does voices.
Hart doesn’t break new ground with any of this, but his antic energy and the polish of these routines (he works with two old-friends to write them) make him a formidable stand-up, one whose career could take on a Seinfeld arc — still hungry, still loving the work, still delivering — after he’s peaked, gotten rich and scared off another wife.
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual material, and language throughout |
Cast: Kevin Hart, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle
Credits:Directed by Leslie Small, Tim Story, script by Kevin Hart, Harry Ratchford, Joey Wells. A Universal release.
Running time: 1:36