Review: Kevin Hart conquers Philly in ‘What Now?’

The comic’s third theatrically released stand-up film chronicles his 2015 show at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

In August 2015, Kevin Hart reached a pinnacle of his career, performing a stand-up show in his hometown of Philadelphia at the city’s NFL stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, for an audience of more than 53,000 fans.

For a comic, it’s a monumental and perhaps unprecedented feat, and that historic show is documented in “Kevin Hart: What Now?” Hart’s third theatrically released stand-up concert film.

The focus is Hart’s routine: very funny bits on Hart’s home life, his domestication, his insecurities. Hart isn’t a macho comic, and he mines humor out of situations that force him to take on an alpha role. He jokes about the privilege his success has afforded his children and the differences between his upbringing and theirs, and it’s relatable material that cuts across Hart’s broad demographic of fans.

Hart is short in stature, standing at 5 feet, 4 inches, but his presence fills the stadium. He’s abetted by production elements on the stadium’s big screens; when he jokes about text messages sent by his wife, texts pop up on the screen behind him.

“What Now?” captures Hart on what he describes as the best night of his life, and more should have been made of that night. Footage from production meetings or behind the scenes footage of Hart talking about what the show meant to him would have sold the human aspect of the event. Instead, the film is bookended by a pointless short film that casts Hart as a James Bond-type and also features Halle Berry, Don Cheadle and Ed Helms.

It’s not a dealbreaker; “What Now?” is packed with laughs. What’s missing is a little bit of heart.

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‘Kevin Hart: What Now?’


Rated R for some sexual material, and language throughout

Running time: 96 minutes