Talkin' Dirty After Dark [1991]

An early entry in the '90s trend of African American comedies, Talkin' Dirty After Dark plays like a prototype of Friday, Barbershop, and other films that followed its example. It's not as good as those other comedies, but it's got the same hip-hop energy that favors character and big laughs over any meaningful plot. It's also got Martin Lawrence, then on the verge of stardom, joining a stellar cast of comic talent recruited from the Def Comedy Jam TV specials that were popular at the time. Lawrence plays an aspiring stand-up comedian (much like himself) who's coping with flat material and lusty come-ons from the wife of Dukie (John Witherspoon), the owner of the L.A. club where comics convene to polish their act, onstage and off. Writer-director Topper Carew (who produced Lawrence's TV series Martin) likes his humor raw and sexy (hence the title), and this easygoing comedy owes a lot to Richard Pryor, whose legacy looms large over the raucous proceedings. --Jeff Shannon

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