''Life'' is a 1999 comedy film starring EddieMurphy and Creator/MartinLawrence.
In 1932 UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, Claude Banks (Lawrence) gets caught up in a bootlegging scheme (remember, Prohibition didn't end until 1933) after a fateful run in with no-good Ray Gibson (Murphy). While making the sale in the DeepSouth, the boys get involved in a crooked game of cards and end up framed for the murder of the local card shark. Sentenced to life, their friendship is forged by proximity and the dream of escape.
At first glance, it appears to be a normal, Murphy, screwball comedy, but it actually has surprising HiddenDepths as it follows several decades of the main characters' unlikely friendship, fitting it firmly in the Dramedy territory.
!!This film provides examples of:
* AloneInACrowd: When Claude is left alone at the bus station, he looks around at the outside world. It's his first time seeing it in forty years. He looks utterly lost and then catches his own wrinkled reflection in a car window.
* BerserkButton: White-Only Pie.
* BittersweetEnding:[[spoiler: Claude and Ray spend their whole lives locked away for a crime they never committed. By the time they finally pull off a successful escape, they're both old men living in the modern world, last seen at a Yankee game. Still the ending treats this in a positive light.]]
* BookEnds: Ray and Claude's funeral.
* TheCameo: Rick James plays a 1930's gangster named "Spanky" and rapper Heavy D is a PresentDay inmate.
* CampGay: Biscuit.
* ChocolateBaby: The Superintendent's daughter gives birth to a very obviously not white child. This leads to a hilarious scene where the Superintendent lines the prisoners up and compares the baby to each of them, trying to root out the father.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The poster for this film shows Murphy and Lawrence sandwiched between two very large inmates who obviously have a little bit o'prison rape on their minds. These two inmates (neither of whom is Goldmouth) are never shown in the film, and while Jangle Leg does hit on Ray, he doesn't threaten rape. In fact, no one does.
* CreditsGag: A bloopers reel is shown during the credits. The best of which is Murhpy's crack during [[spoiler:the watch scene: "Hey, this ain't my daddy's watch!"]]
* DaddysLittleVillain: When punishing Ray and Claude after a would be escape, the superintendent asks Little Mae Rose what she thinks he should do with them. She considers for a moment, and then sentences them to a night in The Hole (her daddy extends it to a week).
* DawsonBabies: When the superintendent lines the convicts up to compare the baby to, it should be the next day after the birth. The baby is wide eyed and holding it's head up on it's own and working it's hands. It's clearly at least 3-5 months old.
* DeepSouth: Even though they are black men in the early 1930s, Claude is shocked to see the differences in their treatment when they leave [[BigApplesauce New York]] and head South.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Unable to cope with the idea of living on the outside, Biscuit commits suicide by running across the gun line.]]
** [[spoiler:Ray's father gave up hope and hung himself in prison.]]
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: We never hear most of the inmates' real names. Instead they are introduced by their prison names: Biscuit, Jangle Leg, Cookie, etc. No one ever even knows Can't Get Right's real name, as he can't speak to introduce himself.
* EverythingMakesAMushroom: Ray's attempt to escape in the crop duster ends this way. Amazingly, he's shown being shoved into The Hole with no injuries other than a hilarious covering of soot.
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler: How Ray and Claude escape.]]
* FireForgedFriends: Ray and Claude hate each other until they have to spend decades in each other's company.
* ForegoneConclusion: Ray and Claude die in prison. [[spoiler:Or did they?]]
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Ray and Claude eventually become these.
* HopeSpot: [[spoiler: When the superintendent finds out Ray and Claude are innocent, he immediately moves to write their pardon - right after he gets out of the restroom. Unfortunately, the stress of the day's events causes a heart attack and he dies without drawing up the papers or telling a soul.]]
* IAmSpartacus: The entire camp claims fathership of Mae Rose's child to save Can't Get Right.
* ImagineSpot: The inmates have one when Ray talks about his dream of owning his nightclub, "Ray's Boom-Boom Room".
** Biscuit fantasizes himself as TheChanteuse.
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: Can't Get Right is obviously very simple and never speaks. [[spoiler: However, his baseball skills earn him a full pardon and he manages to have an affair with the superintendent's daughter.]]
* LyricalDissonance: The closing scene is intended to be highly uplifting and spotlight Ray and Claude's friendship [[spoiler: and freedom]]. However, the song chosen was ''What Would You Do'' by City High, which is about a woman explaining her reasons for becoming a hooker. The song was obviously only chosen for the single chorus line "''But for me this is what I call [[TitleDrop life]]''."
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: [[spoiler:The superintendent explains to the police that the shooting was a Dick Cheney style hunting accident.]]
* OddCouple: Straitlaced Claude and petty thief Ray.
* TheOldConvict: Claude and Ray become this over decades of incarceration.
* OrphansPlotTrinket: Ray's watch, given to him by his deceased father [[spoiler: who hung himself in prison]].
* PunishmentBox: Prisoners are punished with time in "The Hole," which is an outhouse sized shed with no light or plumbing out in the sun in the South.
* RedRightHand: Claude recognizes [[spoiler: the real murderer by his accent and the scar across his cheek.]]
* SandInMyEyes: After hearing Ray and Claude's story, one of the young inmates claims his tears are from allergies.
* ShesAllGrownUp: Little Mae Rose.
* SignatureItemClue: Gibson sees his father's heirloom pocket watch--the one he lost to the card sharp he was convicted of murdering--in the possession of the deputy who arrested him for the murder, and puts two and two together.
* SituationalSexuality: Biscuit and Jangle Leg are together. The party scene implies that Jangle is interested in women when he can get them. Biscuit isn't happy.
* TimeCompressionMontage: After closely following their first 12 years of incarceration, the film skips to the mid 70s via a montage of historical events and images of the other inmates fading as they either died or were released.
* TrueCompanions: The inmates form an odd family of sorts.
* TheVoiceless: Can't Get Right.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Ray and Claude epitomize this trope after 60+ years together.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: [[spoiler:Ray Gibson and Claude Banks now live in Harlem...Together.]]
* WhereDaWhiteWomenAt: Can't Get Right can't keep his eyes off of Mae Rose. Ray and Claude continually try to warn him what kind of trouble this could get him in.
* WorkingOnTheChainGang: Claude and Ray are sentenced to work on a chain gang after being wrongfully convicted of a crime they didn't commit.
* ZanyScheme: Ray's constant escape plots.