In 1930's Harlem two men are framed for murder, what ensues is a comical look at their lives together in prison over the next sixty years.
Genre: Feature Film-Comedy
Release Date: 6-JAN-2004
Media Type: DVD
Jerry S. from OCEANSIDE, CA Reviewed on 9/8/2013...
Very Funny :-)
Thomas C. from HAVERHILL, MA Reviewed on 1/4/2012...
Eddie Murphy is Eddie Murphy. No matter what movie he's in... he's always the same character. This time he's doing LIFE in prison! Good watch!
A serious movie that also happens to be pretty funny
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 07/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, this movie has plenty of funny moments, but there is a very real and sometimes rather touching story that takes precedence over everything that happens. You can't get through the most serious of situations without the palliative of laughter now and again, and Life actually does tell a serious story. Eddie Murphy proves once again that he is a great actor, and Martin Lawrence was surprisingly good as the more serious of two men sentenced to life in prison for a murder they didn't commit. One night in 1932, fate brought Rayford Gibson (Murphy), a smooth-talking hustler with big dreams, and Claude Banks (Lawrence) a respectable fellow about to start a good job, together in a New York nightclub. For entirely different reasons, both guys have to face the displeasure of the club owner's wrath; and so it is that Gibson and Banks end up going on a bootlegging run to Mississippi. One dead man later, and both men are sentenced to life in prison for murder. Since Banks blames Gibson for getting him into all this mess, there relationship varies in quality as the years go by, but gradually a real friendship develops between them. They try to escape several times but end up spending basically their whole lives in prison. Along the way, we meet with several sub-plots involving some of their fellow inmates, but the movie never strays far from the lives of Gibson and Banks. The passage of time is marked by clips of historical events, and some excellent makeup works makes both men look old and worn out as they advance into their senior years. This is not a prison story of hopelessness, however. While no pardon ever comes their way, justice has a way of willing out eventually, and the final ten minutes of the film are just terrific. Since the story does take place in Mississippi in 1932 and beyond, race plays a major part in the film, but it does not define the movie by any means. There are a number of funny scenes, especially those involving pie and cornbread, and Eddie Murphy will definitely make you laugh - Martin Lawrence sort of plays the heavy here to Murphy's periodic antics. Some familiar faces pop up in the movie: Rick James plays the New York club owner, Bernie Mac has a relatively minor role, and Heavy D plays a small but important part. Wyclef Jean contributes an original score for the film. The whole cast is excellent, and a very good script keeps the film on pace and lively.This isn't Stir Crazy; there are plenty of laughs, but I wouldn't call this a comedy - Life the movie is funny in the way life itself can sometimes be - laughter can get us through the hard times, but it doesn't hide the fact that the hard times are there. This movie really deserves more attention than it has received; with its serious underlying quality, it ranks among Eddie Murphy's most impressive films."
One of the very best comedies of '99
Daniel Jolley | 10/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen "Life" twice thus far, and I must concede that it has to be one of the best films to ever cast Eddie Murphy. He and Martin Lawrence are just as emotionally poignant as they are downright hysterical in this memorable comedy/drama of two Prohibition-era guys from Harlem NYC who inadvertently become framed for murder in the Deep South while on a bootlegging run for the local crime boss they each owe debts to back home. They are soon enough sentenced to life imprisonment in a Mississippi chain gang where they share a "Felix and Oscar"-esque relationship that spans 65 years through thick and thin times (including numerous escape attempts). However in the end, they literally become friends for life as they come to terms with their imprisonment. The make-up done by 6-time Oscar winner Rick Baker to transform Murphy & Lawrence from young to old over the course of so many years is the true showstopper of "Life". I wouldn't be the least surprised if Mr. Baker garners Oscar #7 come 2000; he and Murphy have been quite a dynamic duo since "Coming to America". A definite must-see!"
Not the aggressive Lawrence/Murphy humor; still a good movie
Eric V. Moye | New York, by way of Dallas | 08/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I did enjoy this movie, even as I enjoyed Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy's more popular and critically acclaimed work. They are a pair of convicts, one of whom caught up after being "along for the ride", but jailed nonetheless for life in the South some fifty years ago. They do persevere after, through and despite any number of bad (some unbelievable) circumstances. Life in prison makes them close.It is very different from my other favorite prison movie, Cool Hand Luke. Like C.H.L., the brutality of prison life is left mercifully for other films. There is one scene common to both, though, with the prisoners resolving their issue boxing in the prison yard with typical results. As they age, their mutual disappointment makes their friendship ebb and flow from like to dislike and back (of course). Conservative Lawrence (yeah, him) not only blames the typically hustling Murphy for getting him into the situation in the first place. Murphy wants more assertiveness from his sidekick, vowing not to die having given up hope like his Father. As we know they must though, they find some hope, some enjoyment, and even some meaning in their circumstance. Another reviewer hit the nail on the head: this movie was erroneously marketed. The trailers show hilarity, and lead one to think this is a true comedy. Those expecting just that may be disappointed (unless they go straight to the hilarious outtakes). But it is much much more.Fantastic ending. Worth the price itself."
Life is funny, Life is great....
Jerry C. Lewey | Everywhere | 04/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is perhaps Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence's Sistine Chapel. That is a bold statement but this movie is so funny and such a good, well made movie. There are endless funny moments in this movie. I might be being biased because I love timeline movies a lot (ex. FORREST GUMP). This movie will also make you cry from sadness and laughter. I laughed out loud many times and (ALMOST) cried from emotion.
The movie has an all-star cast as well which can sometimes be disastrous (ex.NOTHING BUT TROUBLE). It hits every angle possible and could not have been done any better for what it was. And that is one great, funny movie that is one of my all-time favorites.
Funny & Brilliant; Not a Comedy
CP-S | MA United States | 09/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is one of the best films I've ever seen. It has its funny, even hilarious moments - but it's not a comedy, by a longshot. It's one of the best, most heartwrenching dramas, and was all the more pleasant for being completely unexpected.The plot concerns two men, who were framed for a crime they didn't commit, and their lives in jail after they are sent to prison for life. It does a wonderful job of subtly showing the racial tensions and interplays in the time period and also showing the changes that come about later on in the time and how it affects their lives in the prison.Get this movie. You won't be disappointed."