Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat is a personal, autobiographical stand-up act from Martin Lawrence that should please his fans.
Runteldat is a live comedy concert that opens with reels of newsmen talking about Lawrence’s tumultuous last few years, including his arrest for disturbing the peace and his collapse and subsequent coma while jogging on the hottest day of the year. Lawrence gives a voiceover monologue about the struggles both in his life and on the job as a stand-up comedian and we see him backstage calmly preparing himself to deliver his act to an enthusiastic Washington DC audience. When he gets to the show, he gives his notoriously raunchy act and has his fans in stitches, but also finds time to take a comedic but responsible look at his life. By the end of the show, even those turned off by his dialogue will be impressed by what he’s learned.
Martin Lawrence is undeniably gifted, and always shines even when his material doesn’t. He’s better off here than in some of his recent movies, as he just gets a chance to make us laugh rather than having to worry about a plot. The movie title comes from his life being a topic for public discussion and speculation (“Guess what Martin just did, run n’ tell dat”) and he doesn’t hesitate to tell his side of the story. His language, as well as his takes on sex and race, are filthier than all four comics in The Original Kings of Comedy but he’s always likeable and relatively unegotistical, making this film a real treat for fans of stand-up comedy.
Parents should know that this film has more coarse language than anything else you are likely to see all year, and anyone who has been offended by his previous acts, from You So Crazy! to Def Comedy Jam should skip this one. He avoids being sexist or racist himself, and addresses both topics extensively. Interestingly, his only references to drugs and alcohol are commenting on what an ass he made of himself when he had too much of either.
Martin consistently brings up the theme of living life to its fullest. Families can discuss the risks and rewards of working as hard as Lawrence does (he talks about stand-up being one of the hardest things anyone can do) and getting as far as he has if that means embarrassing oneself with substance abuse and having his private life in the public eye.
Anyone who enjoys Martin Lawrence Live should check out the aforementioned stand-up concert films as well as Martin’s best, Bad Boys and Blue Streak.