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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.93%
Worth A Look: 19.4%
Pretty Bad: 13.43%
Total Crap: 17.91%

6 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Life (1999)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Another collection of comedy skits masquerading as a real movie."
2 stars

Remember when you were in high school and all you heard from adults was "potential this" and "potential that"? Well, that pretty much sums up this weak prison comedy. With Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence together, you would hope for a mini-classic. You'd be disappointed.

Eddie Murphy is funny. He is, even in crap like this. His cocky motormouth antics are almost always worth seeing, even if you have to sit through this kind of rambling waste of talent. He shines in a few scenes here, but then we have to have another pointless subplot thrown on top. This is a cheap technique used by lame-ass comedy directors, also known as 'hedging your bets'. For example, if a director is not confident about the actual COMEDY in his comedy, a quick-fix is to throw in a bunch of schmaltz and unrealistic characters. The director (or editor) then hopes that people will mistake it for something of substance. After all, a prison comedy can be dismissed easily enough. But a comedy with some fake emotion and sappy scenes may be mistaken for quality. Well, if you understood all that, consider yourself cured. You have been vaccinated against schmaltz.

The only way this movie could be more unrealistic is if The Great Gazoo made a cameo. This prison is like a summer camp, complete with cool bunks, baseball diamonds, barbecues, and nice ladies around. There's also a giant plantation (!) about 10 feet from this prison, and most of the inmates just hang around and shoot the shit. Oh, and did I mention that there are NO GATES around this prison? The explanation for this is explained rather clearly: There are no gates because if you try to escape, the guards will shoot you. Hm. Sounds a lot like gated prisons too, only easier to keep an eye on.

Mandatory plot synopsis--Odd couple get tossed in jail for life, although they are innocent. Hijinks ensue. Is Stir Crazy really that forgotten that we need a remake? Also, I can't remember a recent comedy that had this much contempt for it's own characters. Murphy and Lawrence are likable characters, they're pretty amiable and occassionally funny. Why then are these guys put through such horrible shit? It makes it hard to laugh when it's a comedy played for some realism, yet the circumstances are consistently cartoony. (Ha Ha!! They're trapped in a prison for 40 years! Ha!) To further illustrate this, we are introduced to a colorful and adequately stereotyped extremely cast of inmates. Just when these characters are starting to get interesting, they get 'dissolved' in a long musical montage. What the hell is going on here?

Just another example of a movie that tries to go too many ways and ends up going nowhere. Scenes just plop onto the screen from nowhere, from one to the next. There's no continuity at all, especially towards the end. It seems like the second half of this movie was edited with the 'eeny-meeny-mino-mo" technique, which I believe was invented by Ed Wood.

Beware of the 'raunchy, slapsticky' comedy that has scenes where the music starts to swell majestically, and the characters start to behave like they're in Chariots of Fire. This happens more than once in Life. If it had enough laughs to balance the schmaltz, we'd be fine. But it doesn't. Life stinks. But I still like Eddie Murphy. I swear.

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originally posted: 11/20/99 20:22:18
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User Comments

6/21/17 Anne Selby maybe this was based on a true story??yet I loved it as a bit of farce 3 stars
9/27/12 wes Dude your never gonna get it. Its just not yout type of movie. Stick to walt Disney instead 5 stars
8/24/12 roscoe fair but did not mesh. plus, not that funny 3 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
8/26/05 ES Had its moments, a good watch if its on TV (at the beginning) on a lazy afternoon 3 stars
12/10/03 Samuel "FUNNY!" 3 stars
12/09/03 Baby Dee This movie was good. Not only hillarius but dramatic at times. IT IS GOOD! 3 stars
12/07/03 J Hilarious Eddy and Martin at there best! **** out 4 4 stars
6/22/03 Ghetto Smurf Hilaurious 5 stars
3/13/03 adny its the funniest movie ever 5 stars
11/01/02 Johnathan Mull I thought this movie was great! Watch it again and take your head out of your ass! 5 stars
10/16/02 Jennifer I saw the movie like 30 times 5 stars
9/18/02 Michelle I liked how they took a serious subject, and turned it into a comedy. Its a good movie 5 stars
7/29/02 Croweater Saved by Murphy too a large degree, as Martin Lawrence sucks as usual. 2 stars
1/11/02 Andrew Carden Beatty Is The Only Light In This Dark and Unfunny Movie. 2 stars
11/27/01 malcolm funny movie in a very unfunny situation. i would've liked to see more of Bernie Mac. 4 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean If it was advertised as a drama instead of a comedy, I wouldn't have been disappointed.. 3 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa Co-written by Matt Stone, starring Eddie Murphy & Martin Lawrence. 1 flaw: Martin Lawrence 4 stars
1/27/01 lesbi lover No one in this movie is hot. 4 stars
9/13/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble For once Mr. Lawrence wasn't an embarassment to the black community. 3 stars
4/28/00 fire-n-ice could have been eddie murphy in a while 4 stars
2/09/00 Jess Bennett This movie is beautiful. It has heart and his well acted. Some stuff is unrealistic. 5 stars
11/29/99 Crystal Fleming Ok entertainment 3 stars
6/29/99 Mark Reilly Best Eddie Murphy movie im a LONG time 4 stars
6/26/99 David 2 stars are great, film is a real yawner. Episodic nothingness. 2 stars
4/26/99 Daddy Rich One of the funniest movies I have seen. This is the Eddie Murphy we all love. 5 stars
4/26/99 jeff hounchell Two comedic superstars, BUT....the movie cudda have been MUCH funnier!!!!!! 3 stars
4/25/99 XenoWolf the humor is alright 3 stars
4/19/99 agustin more sad than funny 3 stars
1/06/99 The Dude Eddie Murphy is great-he has redeemed himself from Holy Man-its great 5 stars
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  16-Apr-1999 (R)



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