Move over Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Steve Harvey and Katt Williams, the hottest black comic around right now is Kevin Hart. The diminutive, 5' 2" funnyman has skyrocketed to the heights of showbiz ladder lately, making myriad memorable performances on both TV and film.
This year on TV alone, he's hosted "Saturday Night Live" and launched a sitcom spoofing reality shows called "Real Husbands of Hollywood." On the big screen, he can currently be caught in the ensemble comedy "This Is the End," which comes close on the heels of hits such as "Think Like a Man" and "The Five-Year Engagement."
"Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" is a concert flick featuring the best of his recent concert tour across North America and Europe, with stops at ports-of-call as far afield as Vancouver, Toronto, Oslo, Copenhagen and Amsterdam and Birmingham, England. The film opens at a Mix and Mingle party where a frustrated Kevin finds himself accused of letting success go to his head.
That confrontation eventually dissolves into a series of post concert shots all over the world of fawning foreign fans with thick accents gushing about how much they enjoyed his performance. But the bulk of the material was captured on camera in front of a standing room only crowd at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, the final stop on the circuit.
Kevin's irreverent brand of observational humor involves opening up his private life for public scrutiny. Employing the recurring theme, "Don't judge me, let me explain," he reflects upon subjects ranging from being happily-divorced ("I cheated. Do I regret it? No!"), to whether he likes dark-skinned girls (Yes), to humping a bean bag while on Ecstasy, to dating advice ("The only thing you don't want in your house is a female who doesn't trust you.").
Be forewarned, Kevin curses liberally and gratuitously sprinkles in the n-word occasionally for further dramatic effect. The personal anecdotes he relates are routinely engaging with satisfying payoffs, the only disappointment being that the picture only lasts less than an hour if you subtract all the time devoted to audience reaction shots.
Nevertheless, you know a comedian has indeed arrived when his punch lines are periodically punctuated by pyrotechnics on stage. And you know he's still humble enough to remember where he came from when tears can be seen streaming down his face as he takes bows at Madison Square Garden.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity
Running time: 75 minutes
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
(To see a trailer for Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69cdWclv9I)