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| 10 September 2019 | Reply

Shock Entertainment, September 2018
Written by Robert Ramsey & Matthew Stone
Directed by Ted Demme
Starring Eddie Murphy & Martin Lawrence
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Eddie Murphy’s main problem is self-indulgence – as evidenced by the likes of Norbit and the Dr Doolittle and Nutty Professor films, which never came close to living up to his early promise.

1999’s Life tries to get him back to Trading Places/48 Hours quality buddy movie territory, but it’s only partially successful.

Murphy plays Rayford Gibson, a wise-cracking conman (hardly an acting stretch, considering his career pedigree) who gets tangled up with Claude Banks, played by Martin Lawrence, one fateful night in 1925.

Framed for murder the two are despatched to prison and hard labour, where they spend the next 65 years bickering and trying to escape. Due to the time frame involved Murphy gets to indulge his love of prosthetics as the duo grow old. He does it well enough, but as always it distracts from the acting because there’s something self-conscious about it every time he does so, as if he is deliberately drawing attention to it. “Look at me, I look old, aren’t I clever!”

That said, Murphy and Lawrence share a solid chemistry and there’s a positive message in amongst the cheap shots, but rest assure this ain’t no Shawshank Redemption.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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