Movie Reviews: The Original Kings Of Comedy




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     Paramount (2hr.)
     Spike Lee captures the Kings of Comedy quartet at the Charlotte Coliseum in this concert feature film.
     Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric The Entertainer and Bernie Mac
Bottom Line:


   With a pretentious title, "The Original Kings of Comedy" director Spike Lee candidly takes his audience behind the scenes of Def Comedy Jam's circuit stars Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric The Entertainer and Bernie Mac during their concert in Charlotte, N.C.
   The quartet, led by Harvey, launches an edgy, sometimes scathing comedic verbal barrage of slanted observations about race relations, smoking, Hip-Hop music and even the sinking of the Titanic.
   "Did you see that long dry movie?" Harvey asks the audience. "I kept saying everybody knows what happened. Bring on the water! Let's drown these folks. We know what it's about. What are we sitting in here three hours for worrying about this punk kid. Drown him!"
   Harvey and Mac are the highlights of the film, even though some may find that a hyper Bernie "Mac Attack" is an acquired taste. Mac's humor about adopting his brother's three deranged children is dark, biting and sinfully funny.
   "I'll kill me a kid," Mac says. He knows it sounds terrible, but he's just saying what everyone in the audience is thinking, but are too afraid to say.
    Hughley gets into a routine about the police shooting suspects who pick up their dropped wallets.
    "I know the rules now," Hughley says. "I'll kick my wallet all the way home."
    Hughley also tells the story of how Jesus would keep the party going by turning water into wine, and he unmercifully singles out audience members brave enough to sit close to the stage, taking exception to their style of dress.
    The movie is also bookended by fascinating, behind the scenes footage of the quartet warming up before they go on stage. Poker games, live radio spots and a game of basketball all help to loosen up. Lee films these bookend scenes in an almost grainy 8-mm home movie style, giving the scenes a hint of unrehearsed authenticity.
    Back on stage, Harvey's lampoon of old school music is underlined by his retro-70s dress and close-cropped haircut, while Cedric The Entertainer performs a brilliant pantomime of standing on a street corner and talking with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. The shtick is an audience delight as Cedric demonstrates how having a smokey smudge stick in your hand adds drama to what you’re saying.
    A word of warning: Although funny, The Kings of Comedy is loaded with blue language and politically incorrect adult humor. It's definitely not for people who are easily offended and children under 17, with or without a guardian.



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