'Get Hard' settles for homophobia and sexual innuendos, rather than utilizing its stars
Director: Etan Cohen
Studio: Gary Sanchez Productions
Release date: March 27
Get Hard believes its two big name comedian stars can heal all of its comedic and cinematic flaws. All the players involved know there is a funny premise here, and all are up to the challenge of immersing themselves in such a ridiculous plot. In an age where the 1-percenters are truly getting exposed for the crooks they are, this could very well be a plot based around true events, but it is all for naught.
The film is about James King (Will Ferrell, The Lego Movie) being framed for embezzlement right after he is made partner at a prestigious investment firm. After having too much faith in the American justice system, he is sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin State Prison, which isn’t just a venue for Johnny Cash concerts. Terrified, King hires Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart, The Wedding Ringer), who is the owner of a carwash business, to help him get prepared for life in the Big House.
Get Hard is not the comedy it should be. Ferrell’s lack of commitment and Hart’s unrealized potential make this movie flat and waste the talent of the two actors. The movie settled for racist and homosexual jokes instead of going all the way with a rather creative premise.
Ferrell, could very well be our generation’s face and standard of comedy. His frequent collaborations with producer/director Adam McKay have produced some of the most-quoted comedies of the past decade: the Anchorman films, Step Brothers and Talladega Nights. Even without McKay, Ferrell has lent himself memorable roles in Wedding Crashers and The Campaign.
Hart, on the other hand, has built himself up as one of the forerunning comedians in recent memory. His standup features some unique delivery and some of the best insight into somebody’s life this side of Richard Pryor.
But his film choices have never showcased how funny Kevin Hart really can be. One thing Hart does extremely well is give 100 percent; he commits to the role and embodies the persona he takes on. Perhaps, handed the right script, Hart will be able to showcase his true talents for the first time on the big screen.
The movie is full of comedic star power: Not only Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, but director Etan Cohen (in his film debut) who co-wrote 2008’s Tropic Thunder as well as several collaborations with Mike Judge on King of the Hill, 2007’s Idiocracy and Alison Brie from the hit show, Community. Undoubtedly, McKay has teamed with Ferrell to create some of this decade’s greatest comedies.
How can this film go wrong? Better question: Why couldn’t it have been so right?
Hart comes very close to having comedic screen presence. So much so, it almost overshadows the incomparable Ferrell.
In one scene, Hart turns Ferrell’s tennis court into a prison yard and acts out three stereotypes Ferrell is bound to encounter while serving time.
Considering how many movies Hart has made, the sequence plays to the effect that we are witnessing a comedic actor that has learned so much from all those lower roles and can handle expectations of being funny.
This sequence allows Kevin Hart to be as manic as he wants, a scene that was possibly improvised by him and showcases that his true comedic screen talent will emerge soon. Suffice to say, it is one of the funnier parts in the film and generated much laughter from the audience.
At the beginning of the film, there were some legitimately hilarious character introductions but as it progressed it seemed as if the movie had no choice but to degrade itself. This is not to say Get Hard did not have moments of humor, it just could have had – and should have had – more, considering those involved.
Reuben Wolf is a contributing writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org