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Ventura presents
Cedric the Entertainer: Starting Lineup (2002)

"Stoning, that's a hard way to die. People get to throw rocks at you until you die. What if you live in a town with little rocks? That could take like 20, 30 years."
- Cedric the Entertainer

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: October 14, 2004

Stars: Cedric the Entertainer
Other Stars: Roland Powell, Juan Villareal, Tony Luewellyn, J.J.
Director: Unknown

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (contains significant vulgar language)
Run Time: 01h:07m:21s
Release Date: September 17, 2002
UPC: 024543137887
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C+B-B D+

DVD Review

Hailing from my hometown of St. Louis, Cedric the Entertainer has stood out for years as being above the typical standup act. His material is funny, but most of his success comes from his ebullient personality. Dressed in his usual sharp hat, Cedric dances across the stage and connects with the audience in a manner rarely seen in this format. His comic banter and gestures often generate smiles and laughter from me and the viewing crowd.

Unfortunately, Cedric the Entertainer: Starting Lineup only contains about 20 minutes of performances from its title star. Instead, four other comedians deliver shorter sets that vary considerably in quality. The worst of the lot is Tony Luewellyn, who thankfully performs for only six minutes. While capable of some decent vocal impersonations, Luewellyn does tired material about white people, grandparents, and Ex-Lax. Only slightly better is Juan Villareal, a Mexican comic who injects more personality but still discusses the usual subjects. His set focuses considerably on being poor and lazy, which is not super-exciting. Villareal also tries to bond with the mostly African-American crowd by comparing whites to "blacks and mexicans." His generalizations were old 10 years ago, and grouping the two groups together is an easy, tired way to score points with the audience.

The most impressive member of the supporting players is J.J., an energetic guy clad in a bright red leather jacket and matching red pants. His material isn't that original, but he does provide the best moments apart from Cedric's sets. His comments on reading comic books in class are dead-on and hilarious. The final comic is Roland Powell, a young performer with an interesting voice and nice stage presence. He does seem a bit green and remains a few years from really shining, but his set rarely grows tedious. Powell concludes his time with a song that initially appears predictable, but then includes some surprisingly silly lines.

In addition to some mediocre comedy, this release really falls apart with its use of boxing interludes that provide no humor at all. These skits are crudely edited into the show and don't fit the concert in any way. The worst moment occurs during Powell's set, as a tedious boxing scene interupts him in the middle of a joke. This poor type of editing ruins the show's flow and depicts the guys trying way too hard to be unique. The sloppy cuts occur throughout the hour-long presentation and lend to its thrown-together feeling. This disc stands well behind numerous other comedy releases, and is recommended solely for diehard fans of Cedric the Entertainer.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Cedric the Entertainer: Starting Lineup utilizes a solid full-frame transfer that provides an acceptable viewing experience. It never moves very far beyond a typical television presentation, however, and doesn't really appear that clearly. No major defects exist to distract you, but the lack of a sharper picture is slightly disappointing.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: This disc provides a decent 2.0-channel stereo transfer that presents each speaker's comments effectively. The background music is pretty muted, and it fails to provide an intimate atmosphere, but it's generally a solid presentation. This type of show doesn't really need much more than this offering.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
9 Other Trailer(s) featuring Steve Harvey, Alex Thomas, Michael Colyer, Cedric Show #2, Dave Chapelle, Bruce Bruce, D.L. Hughley, Adele Givens, Terry Bros.
0 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The bonus features include a collection of random deleted moments mostly presenting the commentators presenting the dull boxing theme. None of the scenes are funny and much worth viewing. The only additional extras are nine trailers for the other releases in this comedy series.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Cedric the Entertainer provides silly comments about a wide range of topics, including George W. Bush, reality television, and Destiny's Child. However, his limited screen time greatly hinders his release. While this disc does introduce some new comedians, only a handful of their time is deserving enough to replace Cedric's skills. These sets may draw an occasional laugh, but they fall well short of the best standup comedy DVDs.

 


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