The actor and comedian Kevin Hart brings his standup talents to the movie screen with “Let Me Explain,” the movie version of his worldwide standup tour last year. The film, directed by Leslie Small, is a very funny showcase for one of today’s top comics.
I admit I’m a newcomer to Hart’s standup act, although I’ve seen and enjoyed him in lots of movies before. The Philadelphia native doesn’t shy away from dark subjects or indulge in self-deprecation. And it’s not just frank discussion of his divorce, DUI arrest and other life mis-steps- Hart is also not ashamed to reveal on screen that he is noticeably shorter than every member of his entourage.
The film has a preamble, which starts with a sketch about Hart getting trash-talked at a party, followed by scenes of Hart’s recent tour of Canada and Europe. Hart is more popular in various European capitals then you’d think, although these scenes- consisting of Hart’s fans gushing about what a great time they had at the show- feel an awful lot like a commercial for the movie we’re already watching.
But the 60-minute body of the 75-minute film is a standup set, from a sold-out show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which is absolutely first-rate. This is a charismatic, hilarious performer, at the top of his game.
The material is pretty much all sex and relationship humor for its first, say, four-fifths, with riffs on cheating, divorce, the obligations of male friendship and much more. There’s also a sublime running gag about on-stage pyrotechnics, an idea Hart cheerfully admits he lifted from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne” tour.
I wasn’t sure about all those Europeans gushing about Hart at the beginning of the film, but once I saw the set, I know they had a point.