Directed By: Robert Townsend
Starring: Eddie Murphy
Tag line: "Catch him in the act. Uncensored Uncut Irresistibly..."
Trivia: This was the only film to receive a 16 rating in Iceland due entirely to language
Shot on-location at the Felt Forum in New York’s Madison Square Garden, Eddie Murphy Raw is a concert film showcasing the stand-up comedy of (who else?) Eddie Murphy. Laced with jokes about everything from sex to the problems of being a celebrity, and featuring a barrage of four-letter words (Prior to Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, this movie held the record for most uses of the F-bomb in a feature length picture), Eddie Murphy Raw is an incredibly funny experience.
Following an opening skit in which a young Eddie (Deon Richmond) tells his family (including Uncle Samuel L. Jackson) an off-color joke, Eddie Murphy Raw gets down to business. Throughout the course of the movie, Murphy tackles a number of issues, ranging from fan reactions to his jokes about Stevie Wonder to a conversation he had with fellow comedian Bill Cosby, who admonished him for using foul language on-stage (during this particular routine, Murphy does a spot-on impression of both Cosby and Richard Pryor). And while some of the bits are dated (in one, he references Tonight Show host Johnny Carson’s pending divorce), many are timeless (a personal favorite is a discussion of just how painful it is to be kicked in the nuts. “You don’t have to kick nuts to hurt somebody”, Murphy quips, “You can just graze nuts”).
When Eddie Murphy Raw hit the scene in 1987, Murphy was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars; his 1984 film, Beverly Hills Cop, had raked in over $200 million in the U.S. alone, and its sequel, Beverly Hills Cop II, released 3 years later, brought in another $153 million. And while he may no longer be box-office gold (his biggest hits in recent years were the animated Shrek films, in which he provided the voice of Donkey), Eddie Murphy Raw serves as a hilarious reminder of an era when the comedian was on top of the world, while, at the same time, showing how he got there in the first place.