'Talkin' Dirty' is hilariously entertaining

August 16, 1991|By Stephen Wigler

"Talkin' Dirty After Dark" is as funny as it is filthy. It's a hip, urban comedy, set in a club called Dukie's in south-central L.A., that's a primer for the multiculturally illiterate. When it's over, you'll know at least 13 ways of inflecting a common 12-letter expletive that begins with M.

You'll also have a terrific time -- if you're not offended by the language. The best part of writer-director Topper Carew's first feature may be the raucous, sexually charged stand-up routines of several brilliant young black comics, but "Talkin' Dirty" is supported by a plot that is often hilarious.

Terry (Martin Lawrence) is an aspiring comic who will do almost ** anything to get extra time on the stage at Dukie's -- including letting Dukie's lecherous wife, Ruby Lin (Jedda Jones), pursue him. Jones -- a terrific comedienne whose deportment makes Bette Midler's seem as prim as that of Audrey Hepburn -- traps Terry in a linen closet and in a walk-in freezer, where the sides of beef on the wall are not the only pieces of meat that get cold.

The multiple stories include those of Jackie (Marvin Wright-Bey), the emcee of the club, who is in love with Kimmie (Renee Jones), his churchgoing dream girl. They must fight off the predatory attacks upon Jackie by two beach-ball bosomed groupies.

Some of the humor is superbly parodistic -- the domestic squabbles of Dukie (John Witherspoon) and Ruby Lin are a dirtier, funnier version of those between the Kingfish and Sapphire on the old "Amos 'n' Andy" show -- but none of it is genuinely mean-spirited or denigrating. The stand-up routines of the comics -- not only of Lawrence, but also those of Wright-Bey, Phyllis Stickney, Darryl Sivad, Lance Crouther and Dwayne Kennedy -- are often socially pointed as well as hilarious.

Why is it, one routine asks, that the only time you see the African-American community represented on TV is when a crime is reported on the news? "And why is it -- with all the well-dressed brothers and sisters standing around -- that they always have to go up to the brother with the pink curlers in his hair?"

Most of the humor is about relations between the sexes and is told from the male point of view. But the women in the theater at the preview I attended were laughing as hard as the men. As one of the characters in the movie says, after walking in on Terry and Ruby Lin in the freezer, "I'll be a m----------r! You don't see s--t like this on cable!"

'Talkin' Dirty After Dark'

Starring Martin Lawrence, John Witherspoon, Jedda Jones and Phyllis Stickney.

Directed by Topper Carew.

Released by New Line Cinema.

Rated R.

***

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