Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
Watch On
  1. Demme (Monument Ave.) brings a sure hand with pace and structure to the soft-at-heart script by Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone, allowing Murphy, Lawrence and company to sit back and focus on the job at hand -- making us laugh.
  2. Gracefully bittersweet and balanced. [16 April 1999, Calendar, p.F-1]
  3. We have been treated to something we normally would never get in a prison comedy like this: a little delicacy with the humor.
  4. Reviewed by: Justine Elias
    80
    An uneven but extremely funny throwback.
  5. No show-business tradition is sturdier than the two-man comedy team, and no contemporary stars are better suited to the format than Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. Pairing them was a terrific idea.
  6. 75
    Imagine my surprise when I discovered that not only is Life funny (and at times downright hilarious), but it also offers a light portion of sweetened social commentary and a sometime-affecting buddy element.
  7. 75
    The movie is ribald, funny and sometimes sweet, and well acted by Murphy, Lawrence and a strong supporting cast.
  8. Life can be funny, sad, conventional, unpredictable -- or a pain in the tail. And so can Life, the new Eddie Murphy movie. [16 April 1999, Tempo, p.4]
  9. Lawrence and Murphy make an entertaining team. And they are surrounded by a supporting cast that makes the prison setting more pleasant than it has any right to be.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Careens from decade to decade, and from relative dramatic realism to frequent hilarity, in often-winning fashion.
  11. This Life may not be everlasting, but it sure gives us a good run for our money.
  12. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    60
    The overall effect of Demme's film is a little like experiencing Nazi prison camps through reruns of Hogan's Heroes, right down to the few bona fide laughs.
  13. If it's difficult to find straight laughs in a colorblind prison movie (It's difficult enough to find a colorblind prison movie), finding straight laughs in a black one is almost impossible.
  14. The result is a movie that's both odd and mediocre: not as bad as doing hard time, but not a particularly good time, either.
  15. Life desperately wants to let Murphy and Lawrence be actors, but it can't imagine them as anything more than rowdy showmen. That's a kind of prison as well.
  16. Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence are back together and give both of their careers some new life in this sentimental comedy.
  17. Feels as if it's inspired by the old "Road" comedies of Crosby and Hope. Except that it's "On the Road to Hell."
  18. 50
    Spend 60 years in jail with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, and you'll understand why they call it the pokey. [16 April 1999, Life, p.5E]
  19. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    50
    As a result, the film doesn't seem to know what sort of comedy it wants to be -- it comes across as more confused than funny.
  20. 40
    Sluggish, laugh-free comedy (or is it an ineffectual drama?).
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Apr 29, 2014
    8
    The thing I love about the movie Life is that it’s not completely a comedy. It’s what you would expect with a cast of comedians including,The thing I love about the movie Life is that it’s not completely a comedy. It’s what you would expect with a cast of comedians including, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac and more. There are definitely funny parts but it also has a lot of sweet elements to it and a good plot. It’s a typical story of two strangers in completely different lives that are forced together, except, these two are forced together for life in a prison. The movie spans almost 60 years but it never feels slow. It’s a very enjoyable movie that is easy to see multiple times. Eddie Murphy and martin Lawrence give great performances and they work well together. I recommend it for anyone who wants a laugh and a good story. Full Review »
  2. Oct 16, 2010
    10
    I was surprised when I found out it was a comedy. Although it includes comic elements, I found it fairly moving. The viewer is taken on a realI was surprised when I found out it was a comedy. Although it includes comic elements, I found it fairly moving. The viewer is taken on a real journey with the characters. Full Review »
  3. JarrodL.
    Jul 20, 2006
    10
    This movie is simply amazing. It is one of the most epic comedies I have ever seen, with vivid and diverse characters and many comedy greats. This movie is simply amazing. It is one of the most epic comedies I have ever seen, with vivid and diverse characters and many comedy greats. I am surprised that this is not better known for the amazing movie it is. It contains many deep themes one would not expect in a movie with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence especially (considering some of his career moves). It also has many emotional and dramatic moments that supercede its purpose as a comedy. Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone have crafted one of the greatest surprises of the 1990's by making this movie encompassing and memorable. Sure, its slow. But it is also tender, and has a great ending. It doesn't deserve a 3.5 so I'm giving it a ten to restore confidence in what should be a classic. Full Review »