HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Kevin Hart: What Now
HTS Overall Score:70
Kevin Hart is one of those acquired tastes in comedy. I’ve seen a few of his standup specials as well as copious amounts of his feature films (“Ride Alone” 1 and 2, “Central Intelligence” etc) and I rather LOATHE his style of comedy. His standups are pretty decent, but Kevin’s forays into the world of acting have not set well with many people (myself included). He’s brash, loud, and frankly annoying I might add. On the flip side, his standup comedy tends to fare a bit better. Don’t get me wrong. I still find him an annoying little man with a hit or miss joke to flop ratio, but the wild screaming and railing is more toned down and the jokes funnier than his film work. His latest special, set in Philadelphia, is a sort of “hybrid” stand-up comedy act and film. Kevin blends in a little 007 style “casino” themed short film at the beginning of the movie where he acts the part of a secret agent. All the while hyping up and promoting the coming stand-up portion of the disc. It’s kind of cool, and really added a bit of flare to the tried and true routine of a comedy special.
There’s not much to really DESCRIBE plot wise besides the fact that the “Casino” short film was directed by “Fantastic Four’s” Tim Story. And yes, this was the early 2000’s version of “The Fantastic Four” and not the abomination with Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan. The whole premise is that Kevin is being chased by eastern mobsters that are trying to ruin his show, and with the help of Halle Berry he is able to get in on time to make the people of Philadelphia laugh. It’s cute and had me chuckling more than the stand-up special itself was. Hart lampoons James Bond, Charlies Angels and even makes a bit of a joke about Denzel’s famous opening fight scene in “The Equalizer”. Not to mention brining back David Meunier back to reprise his role as the creepy villain (something which had me chuckling quite a bit).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88714[/img]Now on to the actual stand-up portion of the special. While I love comedy specials I have to admit that this was one of the least interesting of Hart’s routines. He’s got some new material, but most of it is the same recycled physical comedy jabs that he does in all his shows. He makes a few twisted facial expressions and bounces around the stage like a Mexican jumping bean, or a kid with ADHD (not out of the question if you’ve seen his movies) to elicit laughs from the audience. The jokes themselves are fairly tired and recycled, with the classic jokes about making orders at Starbucks and how complex the menu is, fat chicks, crude jokes about women that he’s in a relationship with and of course potty humor (in this case LITERAL potty humor).
Now there’s some rather unique stuff in there too. Kevin’s tale about his son and the movie “The Conjuring” will have any parent or spouse laughing themselves silly with the story about the “break in”. The same goes for his slight exaggeration on a racoon that accosted his house and a “gift” that his girlfriend gave him when he was out on business. As such, the special is a bit uneven. Certain parts can be quite funny, but there are long stretches of time where I didn’t even crack a smile throughout the Kevin Hart antics. Personally, I felt that he does better with someone to play off of and that this particular show wasn’t his best performance by a long shot. It’s not bad, and it’s not unfunny, but I can’t say that it was as engaging and energy filled as some of his past works.
Rated R for some sexual material, and language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88722[/img]The 1080p scope encode for “What Now” is a serviceable, if not downright nice looking encode for a comedy special. Usually comedy specials are spectacularly bland with their presentation, but this one has a very nice digital sheen to it. Facial details during the show are clean and clear, with nice lighting to highlight Kevin’s face. Blacks are naturally a bit crushed and show off some artifacting as stage lighting and a black background are not conducive to good shadow detail. Other than that, it’s a fairly clean presentation with a fair amount of pop. The bookended 007 style mini movies look the best, with a much more polished and clean look that is devoid of the black crush and poor lighting issues of the stage.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88730[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is about what one would expect for a comedy special. Dialog heavy, front loaded and rather unimaginative. The little bookend film at the beginning and end gets a little bit better treatment with the little action sequences, but mostly the audio is content to live in the front three speakers. Vocals are crisp and clean, and I didn’t detect any distortion from the encode (only a few times Kevin’s mic distorted on stage, but that has nothing to do with the Blu-ray). The surrounds are usually just there to light up a little bit when the audience laughs and the LFE is the same. A decent track, it’s just not spectacular or wildly engaging due to the fact that it is a stage show for the most part.
• Alternate Opening
• Deleted/Alternate Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Making of a Spy Intro
• On Tour with Kevin Hart
Even though it bookends the comedy special with a sort of mini film starring Kevin Hart, “What Now” doesn’t exactly redefine or reimagine the world of a stand-up comedy act. It’s cute, and adds some flare, but the real meat of the movie is the hour that Kevin is on stage making people laugh. Sadly that particular portion of the movie was fairly middle of the road and the uneven ratio of laughs to blank stares was unfortunately pretty 50/50. While I don’t mind Kevin on stage vs. in film, I couldn’t get the most out of this experience being that his jokes were just a tad stale this time around. Worth a rental though.
Starring: Kevin Hart, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle
Directed by: Leslie Small, Tim Story
Written by: Kevin Hart, Joey Wells
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Buy Kevin Hart: What Now On Blu-ray at Amazon
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