Every year several movies come along that have nothing going against them except that they just aren't interesting. As interesting as life is, Life is not, even with the whimsical Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.
What looks like a laugh-out-loud comedy turns out to be a dull half-drama that in no way can turn heads as a serious film nor as a comedy. In fact, Life almost seems like a cheesy version of The Shawshank Redemption. Only instead of the solo Tim Robbins, there's the two comedians Murphy and Lawrence, and instead of anything original, the script has much of nothing. There are a couple funny scenes thrown in here and there, but nothing that can amount to what most comedies have. Neither Lawrence's success Bluestreak nor Murphy's Bowfinger were that great, but they shine compare to this movie. Whatever comical magic they saw in the script obviously didn't make it to the final presentation, because even in the beginning when Murphy is carrying on his normal wisecracking ways, his usual flare isn't there.
Maybe it's because only half of the film is devoted to the characters' life sentence. The first half of the film basically deals with how the guys get caught, but in a comedy that really isn't that important. The guys then spend sixty-five years in prison in about an hour's time. At first, there's a skip of 12 years, then 28, and then another 25. Just not enough time is given to the time periods to amount to anything. Furthermore, the older the two guys get the more they seem like Matheau and Lemmon in Grumpy Old Men, and less like the wisecracking innocents they were in the beginning.
The main problem with Life is that the script just isn't funny. It isn't bad but it isn't interesting, and nowadays comedies have to actually make you laugh to become successful. Actually, that's not much different from the entire history of moviemaking, so why couldn't the guys at Universal figure this out? Maybe they need a little time in prison to figure out that Life needs a little more energy to keep from dying.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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