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  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
from Film Forum, 08/08/02

The famously crass standup comic Martin Lawrence has another concert movie on the big screen, Runteldat, which is sure to make him a bigger star, and sure to offend many of those who tune in.

Phil Boatwright says of Lawrence, "His storytelling is forced and his humor laced with nonstop crudity and obscenity (over 300 uses of the F-word alone)."

The USCCB's critic describes it as "two hours of Lawrence blathering on in the most depraved manner about sex and relationships. Lawrence's every other word is either an expletive or a filthy phrase of some sort. Most of it seems to be laughter induced by the shocking things he spouts rather than by anything genuinely funny or observant. There may be some who find his performance entertaining, but the vast majority of moviegoers are likely to write this off as a bawdy exercise of self aggrandizement."

Mainstream critics also notice the crudeness. Ebert testifies, "This takes the trophy for dirty talk, and I've seen the docs by Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Andrew Dice Clay. His attitude toward women is that of a man who has purchased a cooperative household device that works perfectly until the day it astonishes him by giving birth."

But Owen Glieberman (Entertainment Weekly) actually sees some growth in the comedian's work. "Beneath the braggadocio he comes off as a warmer, more self-savvy, and altogether funnier person. At 36, with two daughters, Lawrence no longer talks about women as if he were some hip-hop pasha; there's a new empathy to his raunch. He does an outrageous routine about what it's like for a man to be in the delivery room, and when it comes to discussing the cliché celebrity obsession of prenuptial agreements, his darts are aimed squarely at himself."