Rock Fails To Win Over Critics In Broadway Debut

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April 12, 2011 | 11:30am EST

Comedian Chris Rock has failed to win over critics with his Broadway debut in The Motherf**Ker With The Hat, with reviewers highlighting his “inexperience” onstage.
The actor plays Ralph, an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor who tries to mentor an ex-con and recovering addict named Jackie, portrayed by former Will and Grace star Bobby Cannavale. But things get complicated when Jackie finds a man’s hat in his girlfriend’s apartment and suspects she’s having an affair.

The dark comedy officially opened on Monday night, but Rock has garnered a slew of mixed reviews.

The New York Times’ reviewer is the most complimentary of the star, branding his performance a “solid Broadway debut”, but others haven’t been as kind.

A New York Magazine critic compliments Rock’s “flawless timing and devastating delivery”, but concedes “he’s just not a natural”, while a writer for trade paper Variety claims Broadway appears to be “too much of a stretch” for the funnyman.

The New York Post’s Elisabeth Vincentelli admits Rock is “a lightweight” who is outshone by the “more experienced, more assured Cannavale”, and a reviewer for the Wall Street Journal adds, “His inexperience shows.”

The New York Daily News’ Joe Dziemianowicz best sums up Rock’s performance, stating, “It would seem that the X-rated ranting Ralph D. would make a good fit for Rock, but it works against him.

“Rock gives the character a good shot, but when he delivers Ralph D.’s lines in his trademark grunts and high-pitched voice, it’s too close to what’s become his own comic specialty…”