Published on March 26th, 2015 | by Curtis Mayfield
Get Hard – Film Review
Reviewed by Curtis Mayfield M-H on March 23rd, 2015
Roadshow Films presents a film by Etan Cohen
Written by Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Etan Cohen and Adam McKay
Produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Craig T. Nelson, Alison Brie, Clifford “T.I.” Harris
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography: Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Michael L. Sale
Running Time: 100 minutes
Release Date: March 26th, 2015
Odd couple buddy films have been a staple in Hollywood’s diet for countless years. Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder had been doing them through the 70s and 80s with titles like Stir Crazy, See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Silver Streak. What made these movies so enjoyable was being able to watch two very different styled comedians finding common ground to run amuck on. The same can be said about Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell. Both have specialised ways of making people laugh and both are loved by the masses. It kind of makes sense to put these two together in a movie. So here we’re given Get Hard, the long awaited comedy that pairs two of Hollywood’s cash cows on the one farm.
The opening scenes of Get Hard are exactly what you’d expect from a film about two characters that live in completely different worlds. We’re shown scenes that give some background to each character. James (Ferrell) wakes up in his incredible mansion, next to his attractive but superficial fiancé Alissa (Alison Brie). He lives in complete wealth and is delusional from it. He sees the poor and working class as lazy and not living up to their potential. His grown up cold as his father shipped off to boarding school in England where some of his schoolmates were made up of the younger Murdochs and Bin Ladens (pre 9/11). Then we’re introduced to hardworking family man Darnell (Hart). He’s an honest man trying to turn his car washing business into a lucrative situation to provide for his family. The scenes are set and it’s pretty obvious where this story is going and what lessons will be learnt along the way. But with a super team of funny writers and two hilarious lead actors, does it matter if the story isn’t Christopher Nolan material? The answer is not really and under all the silliness there are tiny socially aware tidbits on the great divide between the world’s rich and poor. Take the scene where James’ boss played by James T. Nelson gets very emotional when talking about how his “humble” beginnings were jump started with just one computer, a little ambition and an $8 million loan from his father.
Darnell’s relatable dreams make him a very likeable character. He’s not greedy and sees the bigger picture especially with his daughter’s future. He is the boss of the car wash service that operates in James’ building. The teaming up of these two characters quickly happens once James is convicted of embezzling money from the company he works for and it’s stockholders. He mistakenly assumes that Darnell has a criminal history and knows the prison system well. Seeing this as an opportunity to make enough money to start his own business Darnell begins to teach the air headed millionaire about prison life. Much like Hart’s standup comedy, he puffs up his character, talking in a deep baritone voice and constantly calling everybody bitch. Fun times ahead. Writers Adam McKay, Etan Cohen, Jay Martel and Ian Roberts tastefully avoid giving Ferrell’s character a complete make over that equates to black face. So many comedies have done this before and it’s just plain old embarrassing (I’m looking at you Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House). Though Ferrell still plays the uncool white guy surrounded by black people it doesn’t get cringe worthy. The same can be said about the music. Christophe Beck chooses the music, which is mostly rap, wisely as the soundtrack doesn’t cross over into clichéd or cheesy rap hits of yesteryear.
Ferrell is on point with his classic style of improvising lines, especially in a scene where James shows Darnell his new trash talking style. Hart is only animated when he needs to be as his character is a little subtler than his previous ones. Of course with a movie about a man going to jail there are constant rape jokes and gay innuendos (just take a look at the title). These jokes do run a little dry after a while. Ferrell and Hart artfully manage to recycle the same gags about dicks over and over. Most of them are really funny, in a horrific way, but after a while it gets a bit old. Aside from Hart and Ferrell there are a small number of side characters that add a lot to the film. Clifford “T.I.” Harris is one of them, playing a gangbanger from Compton who assists in James’ prison training. At the risk of splitting hairs though it doesn’t seem right to have somebody with a southern drawl like T.I. play a person who from the west coast, just saying.
Get Hard is a movie that’s so funny it doesn’t really matter about the overall story. There is a countdown with the number of days until Ferrell’s character goes to prison but we don’t really think about that. The jokes are so funny that they drive the story along while the complete plot takes the backseat. One of the best scenes goes to a simulation of a prison riot that involves a baboon, strobe lights and somebody accidently getting stabbed with a shank. This and other slapstick gags get the biggest laughs. The journey of the two main characters is a paint by numbers job. The premise of the movie isn’t breaking new ground comedic or otherwise but it does work as a comedy nerd’s wet dream. Hart and Ferrell have their own brand of humour and for the most part they stick to it. Picture Ferrell’s character from The Other Guys teaming up with, well Kevin Hart. Get Hard won’t be the funniest movie this year but hilarious chemistry and self aware comedy makes sure there isn’t an unfunny moment the whole time. Repetitive yes but hilarious through and through.
Summary: Get Hard is a movie that’s so funny it doesn’t really matter about the overall story.