Eddie Murphy was arguably the hottest movie property to emerge from the 1980s - and he became so almost overnight. Unfortunately, while most of his early movies were admittedly fun, his phenomenal run of success soon went to his head - as we can see from this homage to classic Hollywood gangster flicks. It's clear that he wore too many hats while making this film: top-billed star, executive producer, writer and director (the last of those for the one and only occasion to date).
Harlem Nights has a rich, sumptuous look about it but largely falls flat as both a crime drama and a comedy. Most of the humour is lame stuff, relying on such cheap gambits as slapstick violence and a running joke involving one character's stutter. There isn't much of a plot. The pacing is often sluggish. The ending is unsatisfyingly abrupt.
It's not the worst movie around but it doesn't amount to much either.