Kevin Hart: What Now? Review
By Koushik Paul
Edited by Carl Cottingham
Kevin Hart has, with an increased public persona following his appearances in the Ride Along series and appearing alongside Dwayne Johnson in Central Intelligence, sold out Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field stadium for his 2015 comedy tour What Now?. His performance at the venue is on full display in this film of the same name and, while some of the jokes are a bit old, Hart still holds a great presence on the stage where he is most comfortable.
The film starts out with a parody of the James Bond film Casino Royale. In it, Hart rushes to make it in time for his big show, full of great actor cameos along the way. Hart seems to be enjoying himself here, as he’s making jokes about most movie action movie tropes as he moves through the sequence. Most of the film is actually a more traditional stand-up comedy routine. From the opening sequence, audiences are able to really marvel at the size of crowd, showcasing vast wide-shots behind Hart and an overhead camera flying above the stadium.
The stand-up act itself is a bit lackluster for the large scale the show attempts to emphasize. While there were multiple times where I was genuinely dying of laughter, there were also moments where I could see that he was retreading old ground. Topics he has covered before such as his children, his marriage, his touring, and his extended family are shown here once again, which is particularly disappointing for anyone who’s a fan of his stand-up routine. While many of the jokes are new, we can see that he has decided to play it safe instead for his loyal fans, who’ve come to expect certain jokes from the course of his work. I will say, however, that his new material is very funny when on full display and this likely won’t detract from the more casual viewers who aren’t too aware of his comedy style.
The setting for the stand-up is used to great effect. The editing of the film is excellent, especially with the audience as many of the cuts are synced perfectly with a punch line and allows the comedy to land better. The screens on stage are also used to expertly as they set the joke for a great punchline, although I do admit that it felt a bit gimmicky for a few jokes.
All in all, this is was an excellent stand-up comedy show and I do wonder what Kevin Hart will do after this. As a Hart admirer, I hope he will utilize different subject material for feature stage acts. If you love Kevin Hart, watch this, you’ll be right at home. However, if you’re looking for something completely fresh and new from him, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.