Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by
On the big screen, and particularly in the close-ups, it's not hard to see why Murphy's the current box office champ. He may have an adult's vocabulary, but he's still got a kid's frenetic energy and a wildly elastic face that demands both laughter and attention. His material, which trades on racial and sexual stereotypes even as it skewers them, may be offensive to some, but for others he remains a hell of a good yuck.
Watching his deft, effortless character work chafe against the outermost boundaries of the stand-up format, you sense the transgressive energy of Richard Pryor filtered through leading-man charisma — albeit tinged with hostile paranoia.
This feature-length concert film is hilarious, putting Mr. Murphy on a par with Mr. Pryor at his best.
Murphy raw is better than the well-done ego served up in Beverly Hills Cop II. But he's become a brilliant wise guy, unlike his hero Richard Pryor, who can turn profanity into poetry and hipness into humanity. [11 Jan 1988, p.57]
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Murphy's brand of crude is studied and sleek, all high-polish and sheer calculation. As a performer, he's stylishly smooth; as a comic, that very smoothness is both his greatest strength and his abiding weakness. [22 Dec 1987]
Tampa Bay Times
Eddie Murphy is offensive. Eddie is pompous and arrogant. Eddie is a narcissist. Eddie is a wiseguy. Eddie is a trash-mouth. Is Eddie funny? Yes. Very. [23 Dec 1987, p.1D]
Most of the jokes in Eddie Murphy Raw are the kind you regale buddies with to show off. Anyone as good as Eddie Murphy should have outgrown that years ago.
It's impossible to deny the virtuosity of his non-stop delivery, but the relentless macho onslaught sadly lacks the saving grace of Richard Pryor's self-irony. Even if Murphy doesn't mean what he says (and he probably does), laughs are forestalled by the feeling that it's all too mechanically manipulative.
Miami Herald
Of course, Eddie Murphy is a funny man -- not the kind that throws around a succession of one-liners, but one who proceeds by hovering on themes. And, of course, he scores some points and gets some good laughs here -- and his quota of jeers, too. [24 Dec 1987, p.D7]
Unlike Richard Pryor, whose rough language adds an important rhythmic punctuation to his monologues, Murphy uses vulgarity to shock and divide his audience.

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