Ferrell and Hart’s Talents Can’t Save “Get Hard”
By Scott Kurland
Film: Get Hard
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Craig T. Nelson, Alison Brie, T.I., and John Mayer
Director: Etan Cohen
I’m tired of seeing these dumb R rated raunch comedies. You know what I’m talking about, the one where a simple good hearted idiot must become someone else. It’s always the same movie, Hollywood hires Ben Stiller or Owen Wilson to be the stereotypical good guy. Then they get him into hot water and hire another lovable goof like Jack Black or Vince Vaughn to get him out of danger. Well this week’s film, “Get Hard” is that same old recycled storyline, only with Will Ferrell as the good guy and rising star Kevin Hart as the lovable goof who helps him. Is it any good? Let’s find out shall we?
“Get Hard” stars Will Ferrell as James King, a hedge fund manager and risk analyst for a Los Angeles firm. He’s engaged to a shallow money oriented gold digger named Alissa (Alison Brie). Alissa is also daughter to his boss (Craig T. Nelson). However, problems arise when James is accused of fraud and embezzlement. Instead of taking a plea bargain and going to prison for a year at a white collar facility, James tries to fight in court and gets sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin. Now James has thirty days to prepare before he is locked up, and that’s where Darnell (Kevin Hart) comes in. Darnell is mistaken by James as an ex-con, and James is willing to pay Darnell $30,000 to help him prepare for jail. Can Darnell do it? Or is James doomed?
I like Ferrell, I truly do, but this performance is no different than Ron Burgundy or Buddy the Elf. Ferrell always plays the same innocent type of character. You know he’s going to clear his name, because from the beginning they say he’s innocent. What if he wasn’t? I would have preferred this to be the story of a guilty man, who lost all this money, and is forced to learn how the other half lives. Instead we get a recycled “Trading Places” storyline, complete with a popular young African American Comedian as the second lead to a former SNL star. Ferrell is so talented, but why couldn’t we see a real change in performance. What if James was greedy, arrogant, and selfish? What if the entire movie was basically a transformation film and in the end he went to prison a changed man? That would have been better, and allowed use to see a dark comedic side of Ferrell. Almost like an Archie Bunker side to him, mixed with a little Bernie Madoff. That would have been a hell of a performance.
Kevin Hart is one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars. He has been hailed as the new Eddie Murphy, and his box office numbers keep growing. However, he is miscast here, and it hurts the film. I like Hart, I think he’s really talented and funny. However, in a film like this you need an old actor like Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence to keep up with Ferrell, actually you need Wesley Snipes. Think about it. Snipes did comedy in “Too Wong Foo...”, like Hart he went to Prison, and he’d be the perfect straight man for Ferrell. I hated “Expendables 3”, except for Snipes' role. We need to resurrect his career and this role would have been a jumping off point. Hart tries his best, but whether it’s Ferrell’s larger than life performance or the terrible script, Hart can’t keep up. I know he’ll continue to be a success, but this film just wasn’t for him, it wasn’t for anyone.
I tried to like this film, I truly did. I like Etan Cohen, he wrote “Tropic Thunder” and “Men In Black 3”. As a director Cohen isn’t breaking new ground, and that’s really saying a lot considering how far comedy has come. We’ve seen all these jokes executed before, in far more competent hands. What I hate about “Get Hard” is how far it goes for cheap laughs. They make way too many prison wife jokes, and how many times must it be said? RAPE ISN’T FUNNY!!! Don’t joke about, we all know it happens in prison, but that one concept is what the entire film is about. It’s a dirty awful joke and they milk it till the last scene of the movie.
Not only is the film not funny, it is super offensive to all races, genders, and sexual preferences. I wanted to like “Get Hard”. I like the two leads, I think they are two of the funniest men around, but they are given nothing. The dialog is so poorly written, the movie is so long, and I just hate all of these characters. There’s no one you can relate to, no everyman, you can’t have a film without an everyman. Save your money, and skip “Get Hard”. This is the most disappointing film of 2015.
REVIEW RATING: D-