Comedian Kevin Hart’s hybrid standup film “Laugh at My Pain” is at its best when it takes that title to heart. Riding a deserved wave of popularity on the comedy circuit, Hart can unveil a sex gag with the best of them, but it’s his gimlet-eyed take on his own rather unfunny troubles — a drug-addict father, a recently deceased mother, a divorce — that mark him as a funnyman worthy of attention. Rolled out in the U.S. Sept. 9 with a nontraditional African release to follow, pic should score more exposure in ancillary.
Opening with a warmly funny bio on the star (a bit in which he returns, a boastful conquering hero, to his old Philly ‘hood, despite a total lack of recognition from local characters, is a riot), the meat of the film is the diminutive standup’s high-energy performance at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater, limned with live-wire explosiveness and pizzaz. A strange scripted segment follows, casting Hart and his buddies (including Taraji P. Henson) in a largely forgettable “Reservoir Dogs” parody that can (and should) be comfortably clipped for broadcast.