John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Get Hard

Genre: Comedy

Director: Etan Cohen

Cast: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Tip "T.I." Harris, Alison Brie, Craig T. Nelson

MPAA-Rating: R

Release Date: March 27th, 2015

Get Hard is a movie that will be hard to understand in the years to come. It will be difficult to understand how a film like this got made. There is a slim plot here but the comedy surrounding that plot is so crass, erectile ugly and disrespectful that it’s difficult to think that someone thought this would be funny.

The only thing this comedy has going for itself— and the marketing team seems to realize this— is the combination of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Both comedians are extremely talented and both can bring moviegoers into the theater. One would think that the man who brought the smug Anchorman to life would be the perfect comic partner with Hart, site whose ebullient personality has stood out in hits like Think Like a Man and its sequel. Both actors seem committed to the premise here but the jokes that they are surrounded with are so immature and despicable that the feature only offers a few chuckles here and there.

Directed by Etan Cohen (whose previous directorial work was a short entitled My Wife is Retarded), this film relishes in stereotypes. The first stereotype presented is James (Ferrell), an obnoxious corporate executive who looks down on his employees and is engaged to marry the boss’ daughter. Within the films first few moments, we see James have sex with his wife Alissa (Alison Brie) in clear sight of his gardener. This is supposed to be a funny sight gag but it only foreshadows the script’s reliance on obnoxious behavior.

The film only goes downhill from there.

James is eventually charged with fraud and is sentenced to ten years in prison. Being an ignorant fool, he assumes that Darnell (Kevin Hart), the man who washes his car, was previously imprisoned and seeks his advice for surviving inside of this different type of gated community. When Darnell’s wife asks Darnell why James believed he was in prison, Darnell responds, “I was being black.”

What proceeds from this setup is a film bursting with one-dimensional stereotypes about executives, gay people, and most especially about prison rapes. In fact, the script spends much of its time poking fun at prison rapes. At one point, Darnell even tells James to prepare accordingly for such events and brings him to a well-known gay restaurant for his first sexual encounter with another man.

And, of course, the title of the film itself is played for easy laughs when Darnell repeatedly asks James if he’s hard.

The film is so chock full of classless humor that it’s hard to find any real humor in it. It’s easy to be politically incorrect and to offend people but it’s much harder to create laughs out of those offenses. Politically incorrect humor can work but not when it’s as simple-minded and crass as it is here.

That being said, there is some chemistry between Ferrell’s clueless character (one wonders how James became successful despite his dim wit) and Hart’s goofy character, who spends much of the film pretending to be something that he’s not. One would think that these two comedians would work well together in a film that really appreciates their humor and that actually hopes for a few smart laughs.

Get Hard isn’t that film.

Review by: John Hanlon