News Column

Review: 'Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain'

July 6, 2013

YellowBrix

July 06--I like Kevin Hart. He's a talented guy who I've noticed that when he's acting doesn't have to work hard to gain laughs, and yet that on-screen naturalness tells me that he has actually worked hard to make sure that it doesn't show.

He was one of the best things about "Think Like a Man." As the Dunphys' neighbor on "Modern Family," Hart is subtle and funny.

Before seeing "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," the documentary based on his 2012 comedy tour, I had not previously been exposed to Hart's stand-up comedy talents, which are considerable and easily found on Youtube, according to his fans at sold-out shows across Europe seen in the film.

Maybe that's how many Tulsans found Hart, who played the Brady Theater last year. Performing not only a 7 p.m. show but also a 10 p.m. gig, he proved his drawing power extends to middle America and beyond.

That local stop was also during his "Let Me Explain" tour, and as seen in the concert film, this is Hart uncensored. This is material for adults only, with the subject matter surprisingly narrow in that his views of how men and women relate dominate that one-hour portion of this one-man show.

Whether it's how Hart finds it impossible to not lie, or how he couldn't be faithful in his marriage, or how his ex-wife doesn't seem so crazy now that they're divorced, this is a man with a lot of hang-ups that remain unresolved, no matter how happy he proclaims to be.

The film has a ridiculous cinema verite framing device about how he ends up putting on the concert that takes up the first 15 minutes, and upon arriving at Madison Square Garden, where a remarkable 30,000 fans await the comedian, the filming is an unfriendly mix of extreme close-ups on him and cackling fans.

The biggest surprise is how hard he works to make people laugh, as if talking faster will make the material funnier. His saving grace is his level of self-deprecation that always brings his audience a little closer.

Many of the most successful comics have traded in telling of their insecurities, and the stature of the 5-foot, 4-inch Hart is always front and center in this regard. The subject that even more can relate to is his absolute fear of being made to look stupid.

"Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" doesn't make this rising star look stupid, but its low-budget looks and limited material that he will likely mature from quickly don't show him at his best.

Michael Smith 918-581-8479

michael.smith@tulsaworld.com

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