In 1987, when Eddie Murphy released this film, he was still one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) movie star in the world, and he was able to get away with anything. This is a true exhibit of this fact. This film spews hatred of women, foreigners, white people - everyone who isn't Eddie - it's scary to see the impact this concert film has had on the definition of comedy.It starts out as pure Eddie Murphy egotism; attendees of the concert are asked about their favorite Eddie Murphy movie, and every single one of Eddie's films is mentioned - I half-expected one of the folks in front of the camera to say "All of these fine films are available for sale or rent". The fact that one of the people asked is Kim Wayans, sister of Keenan, who co-produced this movie, causes even more suspicion as to the purpose of this scene.
"Eddie Murphy to every woman on earth: Suck my Dick."
So, the concert starts, and Eddie comes out and makes fun of people. He talks about how women are stupid, vindictive, and only after his money, how homosexuals are creepy, how foreigners have goofy accents, how white people can't dance, how italians are idiots, etc., etc., etc. You laugh, but deep down, you feel slightly nauseous. This is the biggest star in the world, spewing prejudiced, hateful, misogynist rhetoric as his adoring crowd laps it up.
There are funny moments in the movie - his impressions of Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor show us what a truly gifted talent he is, and harkens back to "Delirious", his earlier stand-up special, which, although still offensive, didn't have quite the same amount of venom that this film has. Eddie wasn't quite the celebrity he is now, so traces of humility were detected among the gay jokes and white people jokes.
Richard Pryor, in particular, is singled out in this film as a hero of Eddie's, and we do see a trace of Pryor in some of Murphy's comedy, but with Richard Pryor, his comedy was frequently based upon Pryor's difficulties in life, his own shortcomings (Murphy would never dare approach the level of confessional humor that Pryor used in "Live on the Sunset Strip", where he talked about how he lit himself on fire freebasing cocaine). Pryor seemed to always cast himself as the underdog in his comedy, and so the audience sympathized with him. Eddie is unwilling to show himself as anything less than an untouchable comedy God surrounded by idiots. Whenever he begins to venture into autobiographical humor, it's only to make fun of his mom's hamburgers or his father's drinking.
I will admit that I laughed a great deal at this movie - Eddie Murphy has impeccable comedy timing, and he seems like he's enjoying himself, which can be entertaining to watch. But when the movie is over, and the movie is rewinding in your VCR, think about what Eddie was talking about - how women can forgive anything, as long as you're good in bed; how Japanese women are better than American women, because they're not allowed to speak, and how Eddie Murphy rises above the common rabble, as a super-celebrity, to tell us how we're all idiots.Despite it all, I'm recommending this movie, as it does have many funny moments - but after watching it, I recommend a long shower.
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originally posted: 06/19/99 20:09:51