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Martin Lawrence Live: RunTelDat

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Martin Lawrence Live: RunTelDat

Starring: Martin Lawrence
Director: David Raynr
Rated: R
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: August 2002
Genre: Comedy

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Martin Lawrence, an actor who is responsible for some good comedies (BLACK KNIGHT) and some bad ones (BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE), returns to his standup comedic roots in a performance film titled MARTIN LAWRENCE LIVE: RUNTELDAT. After a self-serving montage about his troubles with the police -- He was arrested, high as a kite, running through heavy traffic while carrying a gun. -- he enters the stage like a rock star.

Roger Ebert has said that the jokes in this movie aren't in themselves funny but that Lawrence's delivery makes them work. Ebert is almost right. The foul-mouthed jokes aren't fresh or funny, no matter how many times Lawrence uses the F-word. He is a gifted physical comedian and does try hard to make them succeed, but it's hopeless. While I admired his energy and his delivery skills, I rarely laughed.

When I did laugh, it was often an embarrassed laugh like one that might inadvertently come out when someone surprises you with a racist joke and you laugh before you can catch yourself. Many of Lawrence's jokes are quite misogynistic. He calls prenups IOUs. One of his stories concerns a married man who doesn't speak the truth unless he's drunk. "When I looked at you, you looked good from afar," he tells his wife about the time when she was seventy-five pounds lighter. "Now, you're far from good looking."

Lawrence covers a wide range of subjects from a perfunctory tribute to 9-11 patriotism to a put-down of white parents' naive belief in the power of time-outs for their kids. Black parents, he explains, won't put up with the disrespect that white parents will. Blacks, he brags, will use a car seat belt or whatever it takes to tame their kids. Beat 'em into submission is his answer. What's frighteningly obvious is that he actually believes this violent theory of child raising.

Lawrence should stick to his day job. He's a better actor than a standup comedian.

MARTIN LAWRENCE LIVE: RUNTELDAT runs 1:44. It is rated R for "crude sexual dialogue and pervasive language" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ***, saying that it was funny because Lawrence is such a good comedian.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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