Not every star survives a public meltdown as bizarre as the one Martin Lawrence underwent in the late 1990s, when reports of his out-of-control behavior kept the likes of Entertainment Tonight buzzing for months. But if that celebrity is lucky enough to be a stand-up comedian who's cultivated a wild and crazy image, he or she can actually put that notoriety to work by turning it into material. Which is exactly what Lawrence does in this nearly two-hour concert film, shot in Washington, D.C., during the final two performances of Lawrence's "Runteldat" tour. (The dubious term is Lawrence's own, a compound of "run tell that" meant to convey the truth-telling objective of his material.) After a short introductory film in which Lawrence recaps the highlights/low points of his career thus far and takes his first shots at the media who dared suggest that he might be wild and crazy for real Lawrence takes the stage and launches into a 90 minute set, promising to preempt the E! network and tell his own True Hollywood Story. Unfortunately, that story is padded with Martin's personal views on post-9/11 air travel (he appreciates the fact that blacks and whites are in this thing together it's the colors in between he's worried about); how different ethnic groups react when being pulled over by the cops (Mexicans, it seems, really do scream "Arriba!" when agitated); and how thoroughly sickening he finds the whole childbirth experience. There's a long, rambling bit in which he portrays a drunk telling his girlfriend exactly what he thinks of her (none of it flattering), a lot of profane carpe diem philosophizing ("Ride the motherf***ker till the wheels fall off!", said motherf***r being life) and a few choice words for critics ("F**k you"). When Lawrence finally gets around to addressing the reported off-screen nuttiness, he assures his faithful audience that he wasn't really crazy, just incredibly high as though drugs are somehow a better excuse for bad behavior than mental illness. Lawrence is at his best when he's talking about himself his Osama bin Laden jokes have been done to death in just about every late-night talk-show monologue. But however stale the material, Lawrence's delivery remains perfect; his great gift is that he can actually trick you into thinking some of this worn-out, pandering palaver is actually funny.
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