Get Hard: Film Review
Cast: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Craig T Nelson
Director: Etan Cohen
It's perhaps a brutal coincidence that Get Hard's central premise is about prepping Will Ferrell's white collar stockbroker for jail time because watching this comedy is like doing a prison sentence for anyone in the audience.
Ferrell is James King, a man whose life appears to be going well; he's scored a hot fiancee (Community star Alison Brie) and is about to be made partner of his stock-broker firm, led by his soon-to-be-father-in-law (Craig T Nelson).
But it all falls apart when he's arrested at his engagement party and charged with fraud and embezzlement, leading to a court appearance where he's sentenced to 10 years jail by a judge who's over Wall Street types walking free.
So, with 30 days to get ready for jail, King engages the services of Darnell (Kevin Hart) a car wash attendant at his company who he believes, because he's African-American, has been to jail and can ready him....
Get Hard trades on offensively unoriginal stereotypes, a raft of dick jokes that just aren't funny, gay stereotyping, homophobia and over-uses a "gag" that there will be plenty of rape in prison for King, given how he's not tough enough to survive.
Be still, my aching sides.
The central premise of the film could have been a majorly impressive satire, but instead three screenwriters (!) cash all of that in for lazy scenes that lack jokes or any kind of punch-line humour.
The gag is that Darnell is as middle-class as they come, using his riffs on Boyz'n'The Hood to provide the wealthy but idiotically naive King with his insights into what jail time could proffer. Thankfully, though, in yet another lazy stereotypical moment, Darnell has a gang brother who can conveniently help.
One of the worst scenes sees Darnell taking King to a prominent gay hang-out to help him train to offer another service in prison which will help him survive. It's deeply unfunny as well as offensive, given that the writers don't actually have a point or punchline for Ferrell to make. I'm betting the writers would see that they're pushing the envelope but what they're actually doing is failing to raise anything satirical or remotely amusing.
Sure, Get Hard is supposed to be a buddy comedy, with Hart taking the role that would have been Eddie Murphy's or Chris Rock's a few years ago, but the film has nothing new or original - or even funny - to say, leading it to feel dated within seconds of it starting.
Get Hard is flaccid, unfunny and a waste of everyone's time. It's a betrayal of Ferrell's comic talents and Hart's motor-mouth tendencies. While the duo has a reasonable comic rapport and some riffs work unexpectedly well, it's again a case of this seeming funnier on paper than in actual execution.
Quite frankly, all of those involved really should be given a prison sentence - for crimes against comedy and for lazy stereotyping.