Review: ‘Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain’

Comedian Kevin Hart's hybrid standup film "Laugh at My Pain" is at its best when it takes that title to heart.

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.

Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain

Production

A Codeblack Entertainment release of a Hartbeat Prods. and Codeblack Entertainment production in association with Usual Suspects Prods. and Comedy Central Films. Produced by Jeff Clanagan. Executive producers, Kevin Hart, Dave Becky. Co-producer, Quincy Newell. Directed by Leslie Small. Co-director, Kevin Hart. Special segment director, Tim Story. Screenplay, Hart, Harry Ratchford, Joey Wells.

Crew

Camera (color); editors, A.J. Dickerson, Spencer Averick; production designer, Bruce Ryan; costume designer, Shilla Benning; art director, Larry Wiemer. Reviewed at Clarity screening room, Beverly Hills, Aug. 4, 2011. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Will "Spank" Horton, Harry Ratchford, Na'im Lynn, Dwayne Brown, Nate Smith, Joey Wells, Larry King.

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