Director: Etan Cohen
Writer: Etan Cohen, Adam McKay
Top Billed: Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell
There is no greater joy than watching a 6’5 inch doughy white guy learning the methods of “getting hard” from a 5’5 inch expressive black guy.
Will Ferrell is James King, an extremely wealthy hedge fund manager, engaged to his sexy vapid fiancee Alissa (Allison Brie). When James gets popped for fraud and embezzlement, he ignorantly turns to the man who washes his car Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart). Darnell, in a predicament of his own, attempting to raise money for a house in a better neighborhood, agrees to help James Get Hard before he goes off to prison in San Quentin. Initially starting as nothing more than a ploy to get the money he needs, Darnell eventually develops a fondness for James and in lieu of preparing him for prison decides to help him dig deeper into the scandal that got him locked up so that they can prove his innocence.
So many gay jokes, like way too many, and I get the title is innuendo but a little subtlety about it would have been nice. The directorial debut of Tropic Thunder writer Etan Cohen, Get Hard provides a twisted look into prison life. Cohen successfully provides a depravedly funny and juvenile view. Stylistically the film is nothing extraordinary but the attention to detail and ability to focus on that detail at opportune moments are what made this film work. The set pieces and designs are utilized well as set up to the scenes gags, Cohen does well visually to set up solid comedic sequencing.
Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell build solid rapport and compliment each other surprisingly well. The two have a well balanced chemistry and utilize their best assets making for quite an entertaining display. Timing is key and it’s clear from the start, this film will only be as good as the chemistry between the two leads. Regarding the supporting roles it’s impossible not to mention Allison Brie (Community). Brie is just really really really hot, and extremely shallow, but still super hot. The opening moments of Get Hard are graced with Brie in lingerie seducing Ferrell to manipulate him into sinking more money into a larger house. Rapper Tip “T.I.” Harris makes an appearance as Darnell’s much harder cousin, giving the film some street cred. Harris essentially plays a version of his rapper personality and is surprisingly well in tune with the comedic banter.
Where Get Hard derails is in it’s subject matter, while important to remember it’s comedy and the goal is to poke fun, there are a few occasions where the limits are pushed a bit too far and the output can be more tiresome than funny. The movie exploits all the stereotypes that come with prison and with members of certain communities and tax brackets. Get Hard is unapologetically insensitive, rude, crude and harsh at times. All that being said through the depraved mess there does appear to be a point being made. You have to sift past the all too predictable story arch, including the thinly camouflaged deceptions that are awkwardly revealed, and cut through all the blatant overblown stereotyping to find some brilliant comedic subversions of those very stereotypes.
Get Hard is harsh, brash, stereotypical and maybe even slightly racist in it’s content, but the delivery makes it all work. The movie is effective because it knows when to keep the joke on it’s goofball protagonists, rather than the actual subjects surrounding them. While at times Get Hard can be construed as offensive, Cohen does well to reign in the antics and bring the focus back to the stars of the film. While certainly not for the easily offended or the faint of heart, ultimately, it is good raunchy fun. Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell never wear out their welcome, and their comedy works without becoming overbearing. At the end of the day if you’re a fan of Hart or Ferrell and have some thick skin, this film is going to be quite enjoyable for you. Definitely not perfect, Get Hard, never becomes completely erect but was a solid semi.
3/ 5 Not Bad Bro