Blink and you may have missed it, but Kevin Hart is now pretty much the biggest comedian in the world. Though he’s not yet a household name in some Middle American holdouts, at some point in the last few years the diminutive loudmouth has gone from working the stand-up circuit and impressing in side roles in Judd Apatow films to filling arenas full of people late-80s Andrew Dice Clay style with his stand-up routine and starring in films like Think Like a Man, which just made more than seven times its budget back at the box office.
Right now, the world is his oyster and all he has to do is reach down and pluck out the pearls. So what’s a guy in such an enviable position got planned for his next move? If Deadline Jenkintown is to be believed, it’s obviously got to be co-starring in a Kevin James comedy.
The trade says that Hart is currently in negotiations to star in Valet Guys, an upcoming comedy – written by James and his Paul Blart and Zookeeper collaborator Nick Bakay – that’s about a couple of valet guys at a posh hotel who lose an expensive sports car and have to find a way to retrieve it in 48 hours.
When we first heard about the film, James was said to be co-starring with Adam Sandler, but that seems to no longer be the case, as Sony is actively looking for another name and Hart seems to be their pick. In a way, getting the young comedian to sign on could be seen as a huge upgrade over Sandler, as his career is currently sky-rocketing while Sandler’s is clearly on its way down. But is this the right project for Hart’s career?
His onstage energy has often led to him being compared to crossover stars like Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, guys who jumped from the stand-up world to having huge film careers and became comedy legends in the process. It kind of feels like Kevin James-starring slapsticks is where a comedy career should go to die, not something someone in their prime should be taking on. Is this going to be a road bump in Hart’s road to superstardom, or has James finally stepped out of his schlocky wheelhouse and written a script that’s full of mature humor that’s worth paying attention to? James’s and Hart’s current track records seem to be at odds on this one, so let’s be optimistic and just choose to believe the latter.