Footage shot from over their shoulders reveals a sea of faces out of which individuals quickly emerge, as the comedians -- especially emcee Harvey -- enthrall and provoke audience members.
A consistently hilarious assemblage of highlights from the hit concert tour of the same name.
This is comedy with a sense of showmanship, and Lee cuts shrewdly to the rhythm of the jokes.
Seeing the film in a crowded theater is a lot more fun than watching it on TV would be, and the crappy, grainy look does create a sort of you-are-there immediacy.
| Original Score: B
Under Spike Lee's direction it's one of the liveliest concert films in years.
| Original Score: A-
What comes out of these comedians' hearts hits the most powerful chord, and the audience wants more of it.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
While that vulgarity eventually gets wearing, parts of their acts are so funny your cheeks hurt.
Boasts the highest laughs-per-minute ratio of any in this season's hilarity.
The jokes fly so quickly and hard that you may find yourself laughing through many of the punch lines.
Ranks right up there with Pryor's Live on Sunset Strip, Eddie Murphy's Raw and Martin Lawrence's You So Crazy.
There's nothing stodgy about these court jesters or their humor, even though their act is a decidedly grown-up affair.
| Original Score: 4/5
Harvey is a master of timing and tone.
| Original Score: 3/4
All these men ... have their mirthful moments.
| Original Score: 65/100
At times the material grows as repetitive as it is profane.
These kings ... eventually walk off the stage without the viewer knowing any more about them than when the film began.
The key to such a movie's success is its ability to capture the 'you are there' feeling -- a task that The Original Kings of Comedy is largely effective at.
The Original Kings of Comedy, with its 10 cameras and backstage footage, may be the most innovatively directed stand-up concert film ever made.
What makes the film an almost nonstop ride of hilarity is the poetry in each comedian's profanity.
Contains an honest handful of sly and hilarious moments.
| Original Score: B-
Live comedy ... is a singularly difficult experience to capture on film, but Lee's done his level best here.
It may be the clearest and most accurate cinematic expression of what it means to be black and American in the first year of the new millennium.
If they're not yet kings, they're pretty strong contenders to the throne.
They form a hilarious and even poignant conscience for a brand of black humor much deeper and wiser than what we've seen on screen this year.
The Original Kings of Comedy can make a person sick in two ways at once -- through its lowdown raunch and through the spasms of laughter that use stomach muscles one might not have known existed.
As there can only be one king, the crown goes to Bernie Mac, a goggle-eyed marvel of old-school Chicago weirdness.
This often hilarious quartet use the foul-ups, aggravations and muddles of everyday life to produce more laughs than most movies you'll see this year.
Time and again, we're transported by the outpouring of liberating humor from four men who know the territory.
Some of the humor on display in the movie is very funny, but much of it is offensive and demeaning.
Mac fires his comic salvos with the authoritative ease of a champion boxer.
The movie has the feel of a joyous blow-out party, and it's hard not to get swept up by its upbeat energy.
You can almost feel the electric charge between the huge, packed auditorium in Charlotte, N.C., where the film was shot, and the four comic originals on stage.