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Movie Review

Life

MPAA Rating: R for strong language and a shooting.

Reviewed by: Michael Hilding
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
108 min.
Year of Release:
1999
R

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Obba Babatundé, Ned Beatty, Bernie Mac, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Clarence Williams III, Bokeem Woodbine | Director: Ted Demme

“Life”—this isn’t the cereal. Hey—Mikey doesn’t like it. Overall, “Life” was a funny movie, but what else would you expect from Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. As would be expected, though, the use of strong language and bad behavior to setup the punch lines marred the film.

“Life” is a funny and poignant story of two blacks unjustly imprisoned for life in a 1930s Mississippi work camp. The story traces 40+ years of incarceration as two innocent men serve a life sentence for a crime they didn’t commit. The movie consists of their schemes and attempts to escape, while also studying relationships between the prisoners (though it lacks depth, but after all this is only a comedy). Lying, alcohol use, theft, bootlegging, gambling, fornication, and homosexuality are all shown as acceptable, unfortunately. Murder, however, is portrayed as wrong, but in the end even murder is okayed in certain given situations. Most likely “Life” will get a strong endorsement from the secular community due to the political correctness of the film. On a positive side, the storytelling and the film’s unique method of showing the passage of time does merit commendation!

While this movie is funny, due to the continuous use of profanity, taking of the Lord’s name in vain, the comical view of breaking most of the ten commandments, as well as two murders that are actually quite graphic for a comedy, I would recommend spending money on a less offensive comedy.

Viewer Comments
Unique. Has its funny moments, but I just wouldn’t want to sit through it again.
—T. Cowley, age 26
…Yes, there is an excess of profanity, however, it characterizes the times in which the story unfolds and characterizes the people who find themselves within it. The reviewer suggests that the movie contains too much lying, cheating and homosexuality (“breaking most of the ten commandants”). However, most Christians recognize this as the “normal behavior found within the unnatural confines of a prison” and the “gangster's” life. Development of the secondary characters and detailing their personalities simply helps us understand the predicament the main characters find themselves in. The love-hate relationship of the main characters is used by both to cope with their injustice and with man’s inhumanity to man. The reviewer’s comment about political correctness is meaningless and is a gratuitous assertion. I personally found the movie very entertaining and would rate it slightly higher on the Christian scale and a 4 on the moviemaking quality scale. My Ratings: [2½/4]
—Clint Good, age 44