Stephen Adly Guirgis‘s The Motherf**er With The Hat is about a quintet of urban characters battling addiction–mainly to each other.
This results in heaps of squabbling, as the confrontation-filled play serves up monologues of fiery invective, filled with vivid dialogue and sh*tloads of raunch.
From the woman telling her suspicious man “Leggo my Eggo” to Chris Rock‘s nontraditional sponsor character admitting he has “no fuckin’ halo,” the potty mouthed characters make the audience roar with recognition as they rip into each other’s bad behavior while justifying their own.
It’s too bad there are some talky stretches that grow a bit tiresome, with too much telling off and dressing down.
Still, when it clicks–like in the big showdown between Rock and a teed-off Bobby Cannavale–you tip your motherf**ing hat to the raucous revelry.
That scene brings Rock’s character to life and he does well with it, as if transmuting his standup persona to the legit stage.
Cannavale is the anchor (though he seems to recede as Rock takes over), Elizabeth Rodriguez is strong in what can be called the Rosie Perez role, Annabella Sciorra is good and pissed, and Yul Vasquez is wonderfully quirky as the cousin, though he pushes too hard for laughs in the “Van Dam” scene.
Next week: Ben Stiller.