Why Will Smith And Martin Lawrence’s Bad Boys Partnership Works So Well

Bad Boys for Life Will Smith And Martin Lawrence As Mike and Marcus

Bad Boys For Life has not slowed down in the weeks since it played in theaters. In fact, the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence starrer has been a bestseller on Digital and there’s already some talk that a fourth movie will be coming down the pipeline. If you've wondered why the movie has been so popular with audiences, both Smith and Lawrence seem to have ideas about why the on-screen partnership in the Bad Boys franchise works so well.

Speaking during an appearance on Tidal’s #CRWN, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence talked a little bit about why the partnership between Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett has worked so well over the years. It all comes down to the two actors doing their own thing... in a strategic way, of course. Said Will Smith about working with Martin Lawrence:

More than anything it’s like we’re playing different instruments and that’s the main thing about being in a scene with somebody. When you’re not playing the same instruments, right, we’re not fighting for jokes, we’re not fighting for a certain shot. It’s like we fill the scene out and we know how to support each other in a way that is magical.

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Martin Lawrence adds he feels like the two in the Bad Boys franchise are “the yin and the yang,” also telling moderator Elliott Wilson “it’s like a sparring match” when he and Will Smith start filming comedy together.

Honestly, to me the back and forth between Smith and Lawrence is the best part of Bad Boys For Life and the other franchise movies to boot. At some points the plot of the threequel gets a little bit off of the rails, but the banter and comedy in the movie has just enough of the right tone to support where the plot ultimately goes.

A prime example of this –and it should go without saying I’m about to go into spoilers if you haven’t caught the flick yet – is the scene in which it is revealed that Mike Lowrey formerly had a relationship with a “witch” and Marcus Burnett just can’t get enough of it. There’s a whole scene on a plane about this witchy subplot that Jerry Bruckheimer previously said was improvised by Martin Lawrence when the movie was still filming.

It even comes up in the end-credits scenes and basically results in one of the best recurring jokes through the movie. If that whole subplot had tonally been really serious, it just wouldn’t have worked as well. End spoilers.

I really appreciate that about Bad Boys For Life and it does not sound like something Will Smith and Martin Lawrence take for granted either. The two are playing different comedic instruments. They give each other and, in turn, the characters space.

That chemistry was enough to make Bad Boys For Life a very fine hit, in particular for a January release. It’s also enough to result in the studio contemplating Bad Boys 4. (It coulda been Bad Boys 4 Life, but that’s a different complaint.). We’ll let you know as soon as the franchise continues to move forward. In the meantime, the three-quel is out on Digital now and on DVD and Blu-ray starting on April 21.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.