KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN (Leslie Small). 75 minutes. Opens Friday (August 9). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
Among the many things left unexplained in Kevin Hart's new stand-up movie is why fans find the comedian so funny.
Hart's paramount success finds him hosting an audience at the coveted Madison Square Garden, hunching and preening his way through a crude routine, periodically accompanied by pyrotechnics. His impressive physicality and the background special effects, which become their own running joke, are a smokescreen disguising how poorly written Hart's rambling gags actually are.
Unlike the most memorable comics, who often find intimate ways to reflect on the world at large, Hart's stand-up lacks a sharp, critical edge. He's a dull narcissist whose material is limited to his own friends, family and (among his best bits) hired bodyguards. Yet even within that bubble, he lacks insight.
Sure, Hart takes a moment to blame his own cheating ways for the breakdown in his marriage. However, he immediately descends to painting his jealous partner as a demonic creature ready to chew his ass out. His apology is the Trojan horse for a full-scale assault on women.
Hart frequently turns his personal life into a weird, meandering fiction that takes an unusually long time to get to a punchline. A few jokes land, but not enough to justify this movie.