Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Leslie Small

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Leslie Small
Before Kevin Hart takes the stage in his exceedingly mediocre Let Me Explain special, the film takes a page from Eddie Murphy's Raw, having a preamble leading into the event to give a bit of cinematic panache not available at a live show. But where Murphy's very brief introduction to his very protracted and memorable on-stage breakdown entertained, Hart's narcissistic, rather abrasive ode to his ego is just oppressive and embarrassing.

For roughly 15 minutes, a shaky cam follows Hart around a club while he jokes about being referred to as a LAB (local-ass bitch), which leads into a poorly constructed evaluation of his rise to fame. He's shown briefly on stage at various shows throughout Canada and Europe saying, "thank you" to audiences that rave incoherently in behind-the-scenes footage. None of this is funny, no jokes are made and no information is provided that an audience paying money to see a Kevin Hart special wouldn't already be familiar with.

It also suggests that he feels persecuted, featuring criticisms of his selling out and not dating dark-skinned women, which is juxtaposed oddly with the celebration of his YouTube success and overall self-flattery.

Once the stand-up portion at Madison Square Garden finally starts, fire shoots out from all directions of the stage, leading him into his first riff about just that: "If Jay-Z can have fire on the stage, then I can have some fuckin' fire." It's an interesting opening to a show that is ironically not at all kinetic, having very few genuine laughs amidst jokes that tend to re-tread much of his older material.

He goes on rants about divorce, crazy black women, white women, friends that get in the way of cheating on black women and the entire gamut of dick humour, doling out the N-word more often than not (and not in a Richard Pryor sort of way). It all feels quite stale and uninspired, which is particularly problematic when it ends rather abruptly during a discussion about horse riding. Since he still hadn't managed to surpass the sour taste the stand-up faux-documentary left behind, this leaves the entire special feeling like a bit of a rip-off.

Kevin Hart has better material than this. Although, the opening self-aggrandizing suggests that his inability to connect with real people now that he's famous might just be an early sign of a steady decline in quality. (eOne)