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Harlem Nights

This blatantly excessive directorial debut for Eddie Murphy is overdone, too rarely funny and, worst of all, boring.

With:
Eddie Murphy Richard Pryor Redd Foxx Danny Aiello Michael Lerner Della Reese

This blatantly excessive directorial debut for Eddie Murphy is overdone, too rarely funny and, worst of all, boring.

The film features Richard Pryor as the sage Sugar Ray to Murphy’s hot-tempered Quick, who risk losing their 1930s Harlem nightclub when a corpulent crime boss (Michael Lerner) sets his sights on it.

The pair hatches up a predictable scheme to turn the tables on the mobster, whose henchmen include a cold-hearted mistress (Jasmine Guy) and a crooked cop (Danny Aiello).

There’s an obnoxious cameo by Murphy’s chum Arsenio Hall that proves pointless and unnecessary, as well as a mean-spirited recurring gag involving the stuttering heavyweight champ (Stan Shaw).

But the film does have its moments, such as when Murphy dukes it out with Reese’s growling club madam or beds the carnivorous Dominque (Guy).

1989: Nomination: Best Costume Design

Harlem Nights

Production: Murphy. Dir Eddie Murphy; Producer Robert D. Wachs, Mark Lipsky; Screenplay Eddie Murphy; Camera Woody Omens; Editor George Bowers; Music Herbie Hancock Art Dir Lawrence G. Paull

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1989. Running time: 118 MIN.

With: Eddie Murphy Richard Pryor Redd Foxx Danny Aiello Michael Lerner Della Reese

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