Take a Drink: each time James or Darnell says “Get hard.”
Take a Drink: each time James or Darnell says “Motherf*cker.”
Do a Shot: every time you see Will Ferrell’s pale white ass.
Do a Shot: when you realize Will Ferrell just dressed up like Magnum, P.I.
Shogun a Beer: when you see the fake penis. (And that was not one of the eight times I laughed.)
By: Amelia Solomon (Four Beers) –
I have to admit I was in a bad mood. While the East Coast had turned into the Arctic Circle, Los Angeles had become Hades. I had started to regret my decision to move into an apartment with no central air, and when my favorite movie friend, who will go with me to watch almost any movie, declined my invitation to accompany me to a sneak preview of Get Hard, I didn’t want to go. But I mustered any strength I had and dragged myself to the theater. Once seated in my reserved seat, I realized the woman next to me had taken a perfume bath, and I crinkled my nose in disgust. But then the AC turned up, way up, and I slipped into a frozen daze as the trailer for Magic Mike XXL played. Thinking that was the best thing I’d see tonight (and it looked absolutely awful), I couldn’t believe I’d actually laughed out loud eight times during the film. Five of those times were attributable to Kevin Hart and the other three to Will Ferrell. But who’s counting?
Get Hard is a buddy comedy that centers on James King (Will Ferrell), an obnoxiously wealthy stock broker, day trader, financial analyst, or something along those lines. When he receives a ten year prison sentence at San Quentin’s maximum facility for committing fraud, instead of a short stay at Club Fed, he breaks down and fears he’ll never survive. Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart), who runs a car wash in the office building in which James worked, learns of James’ fate and agrees to help him prepare and train for prison, despite having never served time himself. Darnell turns James’ mansion into a pseudo prison and throws all kinds of ridiculous prison-like scenarios at him during the thirty days James is given to put his affairs in order.
Director Etan Cohen, who wrote Idiocracy, depicts the dichotomy between the rich and poor that exists in Los Angeles. It was an interesting layer to add to a film that was mostly a sight gag comedy. Cohen, Jay Martel, and Ian Roberts (always worrisome when a screenplay has multiple writers) also made a wise choice to write R-rated content. This meant that I hadn’t only seen the best jokes in the film’s trailer. There were a few surprises in this film that one would not expect, especially since all I’d seen prior were the hideous and possibly offensive movie billboards of Will Ferrell with cornrows.
Kevin Hart, who proved he can be a leading man in The Wedding Ringer, solidifies his talent as a comic actor in Get Hard. Frankly, without him this film would have been an abomination. I believe he can capitalize on his recent success and have a long-running film career, and his charisma brings to mind a 1980’s-level Eddie Murphy. In fact, the funniest scene in the film is when Darnell plays the role of three potential prison inmates simultaneously, and makes James’ head spin. Yes, it plays into stereotypes, but the fact that Hart can play an African American inmate named Leroy, a Mexican prison inmate named Carlos, and a flamboyant gay prison inmate named Dante, all in the same scene, is evidence of his high comedic talent. Another scene that works well is when Darnell references the film Boyz n the Hood and pretends that the famous scene in which Ricky gets shot is his personal story. James, who’s completely unfamiliar with the film, buys into this.
There’s also something to be said of the chemistry between Ferrell and Hart. It works way better than Mayo and Chocolate together (which are the gang nicknames they give themselves in the film).
As much as Kevin Hart shines, Will Ferrell stinks. His shtick, which seems like a combination of his many SNL characters, feels tired and so last century. He plays a buffoon and gives his character, James King, no depth and no elements of realness. In contrast, Hart’s character, Darnell, is a real person and relateable. The problem with this difference between the two main characters is it makes it hard to decipher if this is supposed to be a comedy, meaning a real-life scenario that has funny elements, or one long-running comedy sketch. There are times when I think Ferrell is confused and is playing his Anchorman character Ron Burgundy. This is problematic and makes Ferrell seem like a one-trick pony.
If you look up this film on Fandango, IMDB, or Wikipedia, you’ll notice that the plot is described in one sentence. In other words, there is not much plot here. In fact, the plot barely appears, except for at the beginning and at the end of the film. The middle is just a long stretch of repetitive ass and dick jokes. About halfway through the film, it occurred to me I was basically watching a bad spoof of Trading Places. Normally it’s good to be compared to a classic comedy, but not when you wish you were just watching the original film.
Most of the jokes in Get Hard play on stereotypes, and this is often the case with humor. But when invoking generalizations in your humor, there is the problematic possibility of crossing the line. I’m not easily offended, but I can guarantee that many of the jokes in Get Hard will offend someone. Making fun of African American gangs, gay men, and even white supremacist groups (despite this last group deserving it) is a cheap way to get laughs. When your film relies on lines like “It’s Nazi titties,” it makes you wonder where the creativity went.
Get Hard is either the perfect film to catch on DVD with your stoner friends while stuck on a turbulent cross country flight, or when you visit your parents and realize they got rid of cable and your laptop is now your only source of entertainment. But I digress. Watch Get Hard for Kevin Hart. And that’s all.