Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Don't forget that Eddie Murphy began his love affair with fame on Saturday Night Live. In Hollywood, he stayed too long as a Beverly Hills cop, when what he enjoyed best was getting back into character, like with Coming To America where he played half the cast and The Nutty Professor, where he impersonated an entire family, including mom.

In the new one, he starts off in Axel Foley mode, all phony flash charm and shark's tooth grin, as a con man pickpocket on the cabaret circuit in the Cotton Club era. He meets up with Martin Lawrence, who is Mr Straight, a wannabe bank clerk, with a girl in the wings, dreaming of happy-ever-afters, and steals his wallet. Later, after a series of mishaps, they find themselves arrested for a murder they didn't commit and become victims of racial discrimination. They are given the maximum sentence and sent to the Mississippi State Prison.

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And that's it for the rest of the movie, hard labour, redneck guards, feeble attempts at escape and very few laughs. Murphy is one of the producers which should guarantee him the most sympathetic role. In fact, he gives this to Lawrence. As they grow wrinklier, the makeup crew move in and Murphy disappears. Or rather, he lives on as a doddery old con, which requires a little acting. He loves it. Unfortunately, by this time, the film has passed away.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Comic complications for cons who get life for a murder they didn't commit.
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Director: Kelly Makin

Writer: Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Obba Babatundé, Nick Cassavetes, Anthony Anderson, Barry Shabaka Henley, Brent Jennings, Bernie Mac, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Michael Taliferro, Guy Torry

Year: 1999

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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