Kevin Hart: What Now?, 2016.
Directed by Leslie Small and Tim Story
Starring Kevin Hart, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, and Ed Helms
Comedian Kevin Hart performs in front of a crowd of 50,000 people at Philadelphia’s outdoor venue, Lincoln Financial Field.
It is as simple as this, if you enjoy Kevin Hart’s hyperactive style of comedy, you will enjoy Kevin Hart: What Now?. Not having seen his previous stand-up comedy/film crossovers, I also feel very comfortable claiming that Kevin Hart is at his best here, primarily because his brand of humor is one that audiences can relate. Who doesn’t love hearing uproarious familial stories about people just as loony as Kevin Hart?
Seriously, if you think Kevin Hart is crazy and needs to be given an anti-sedative roughly 5 times a day, just wait until you get a load of some of the stories involving the wacky characters that make up his real-life family. Howling laughter isn’t the only thing to take away from the larger-than-life tales however, as there is an undercurrent of thought-provoking family themes to his comedy. One particularly lengthy bit involves Kevin Hart proposing to audience members, both female and male, if they could still function in a loving relationship with their partner if one of them got brutally mauled by a wild animal and suffered severe injuries. Sure, it’s offensive humor and will rattle the sensitivity of some, but he brings up a good point even though most people just say yes, answering on pure emotion.
We also learn that Kevin Hart humorously (he is actually a good father) does not give one fuck about them if a dangerous situation arises, in what is without a doubt the funniest stretch of the stand-up routine aside from the closing bit where he vents his pure unbridled hatred for Starbucks. Whatever you do, don’t ask him to make a Starbucks run for you.
What makes large portions of the stories and jokes work aren’t just the enthusiasm that Kevin Hart rapidly fires them off with, rarely giving audiences time to catch their breath from laughter (although the movie could just be edited that way because watching Kevin Hart pause and take a drink of water once is probably enough, and seeing it anymore might mildly hurt the flow of the routine) but his ability to embellish certain ridiculous aspects of his stories. I really don’t know what to believe on his entire raccoon story.
Occasionally there are some small dead spots where the jokes are only mildly amusing, but for the most part audiences will be hooked provided that they are once again Kevin Hart fans in the first place. The introductory James Bond spoof casino segment is also very weird, adding nothing really to the experience as a whole. Even though it only lasts 15 minutes, right after the super bizarre James Bond reminiscent intro you’re kind of just ready for the stand-up comedy to begin. The segment just feels there to pad the running time into the normal length for movies. Also, some of the over-the-top obnoxious facial expressions and random loud noises he makes to emphasize certain points usually come across as annoying, and he would probably be even better without occasionally resorting to them.
At the end of the day, you know what you’re getting into when you buy a ticket for this one. It all just comes down to if you have a preference for Kevin Hart’s humor or not. I was consistently entertained and thoroughly enjoyed an inside look at his zany family. The existence of Kevin Hart: What Now? into actual theaters is also absolutely justified considering that the man packed a football stadium full of 50,000 people that range from all races and ethnicities. It is something Kevin Hart acknowledges himself at the end of the show, and a testament to just how much of a power-house force he is in the landscape of comedy.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★