"Share it with someone you love."The story of two criminals (Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence) who discover the value of life after being sentenced to life imprisonment.
I cannot even begin to count how many `comedies' I have
sat through that try to reach for the `timeless' formula
interjecting some lame dramatics to engage the audience
more than the comedy ever could. It's a practice as old
time in Hollywood. Most of these movies fail miserably.
You leave the theater thinking `It was funny enough, why
couldn't it just stay silly?' My friends, I'm with you
every page. It's a slippery slope to juggle the two genres.
`Life' is the millionth attempt at warm-hearted comedy.
tries to make you pee your pants with its jokes, and yet
slap your emotions around with the drama. And damn the
odds, it fits like a glove.
`Life' is also a film that defies much criticism. You
either love stars Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, or
don't. I'm in the first category. As the main characters,
the two comedians prove just how valuable they are. Murphy
is coming off a uniquely horrific year. `Dr. Dolittle' was
smash, but a career setback to say the least. `Holy Man'
an unmitigated disaster, but one that didn't effect Murphy
with any real damage. The greatest gift `Life' gives to
Murphy is a chance to show off range. Murphy is a very
talented actor, and this movie makes you wish he would try
straight drama for once. Murphy can be devastatingly funny.
But he can also be very dramatically convincing. With
new movie, Murphy grows as an actor. I really think he's
for brighter things.
Martin Lawrence shares many of the same attributes as
Murphy. He's terribly funny, and yet able to win your
with a depth most comedians don't have. `Life' has Lawrence
with the quieter role. He uses that chance to provide
film with a backbone. He eventually comes out the best
rounded character in the fractured storytelling. It's
good performance, but even better, it's a brilliant pairing
with Eddie Murphy. The two are seamlessly funny. Squeezing
every moment for comic and emotional juice. It's refreshing
to watch a movie with two actors who seem to be trying
something different, all the while living up to previous
Ted Demme is a solid director, a thought that
immediately puts me in the minority. His `Who's The Man?'
was a strictly silly romp, but was actually funny. `The
was the critically lauded and sharp black comedy. `Beautiful
Girls' is a film that every time I sit down to watch, feels
as comfortable as an old cardigan. He's yet to falter in
eyes. I like his attention to detail, and his gift for
trusting his actors. `Life' wouldn't work as well as it
without a specific amount of direction and free will. Demme
manages to keep the film on track without ever succumbing
an over-reliance on improv. The best scenes in `Life'
the quiet ones: the gay inmate who's release from prison
provides a dilemma, the passage of time montage, and
Lawrence's moment with the freshly baked pies(which is
actually comical, but who's counting?). The film seems
it was longer at one point, but the film on display here
really pleased me. I would recommend this film to anybody
that has lost faith in Eddie Murphy.------------- 9
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