When you go to Taco Bell at 2 o’ clock in the morning its safe to say you’re not expecting to be dining at a Michelin star restaurant. You are there because A) you are likely intoxicated or under the influence of some drug and suddenly Doritos locos tacos sounds amazing, B) because at this hour the food options are sparse, to say the least or C) Like Anna Kendrick you have a drive-thru taco addiction. The same reasoning can be applied to Etan Cohen’s directorial debut “Get Hard”, you are there for some cheap laughs and because there is nothing out right now if you’re not a fan of 50-year-old live-action remakes or the latest young adult novel adaptation.
The plot of Get Hard is simple and straightforward, rich hedge fund manager James King (Will Ferrell) gets sentenced to 10 years at a maximum security prison for fraud/ embezzlement seeks the aid of lowly car wash manager Darnell (Kevin Hart) in preparing him for life behind bars. The set up to this premise is odd though given they try to paint King in two opposing lights at different points throughout the movie. At first, King is the asshole who tips Darnell just a dollar and who’s own employees take pleasure in the harsh nature of his “training” but later King is portrayed as a model of innocence who could have never done the crime. This setup is further complicated by King’s insistence that he is not a racist at a later point in the film despite choosing Darnell to be his mentor on the assumption that he’s been incarcerated. The film tries to suggest that this is due to a statistical analysis (1 in 3 black men spend time in prison according to King but this would suggest that Darnell is more likely to NOT to be a criminal?). Another issue is that the film spends much of its runtime trying to prepare King for prison but then decides to switch gears three-quarters of the way through to a heist theme centered around clearing Ferrell’s name. Why these two elements did not occur simultaneously at the very least is beyond me.
Putting asides issues with the plot though (because that’s not what audiences are coming to see in a Will Ferrell led movie) Get Hard does occasionally get funny in typical crude Ferrell fashion. Penned by frequent Ferrell collaborator Adam Mckay (Anchorman, The Other Guys) there are good moments here amplified by Ferrel’s good delivery and his genuine chemistry with Hart but many of the jokes are recycled throughout and lose effectiveness as the film goes on. At one point the film hammers home the sexual innuendo behind its title which by the third time is overdone. Get Hard is at its best in the impromptu moments where its actors are able to flow and just throw lines out there that catch you off guard. Many of the jokes are quickfire with the exception of one which tries to set up a reference to the classic film Boyz N The Hood. This would’ve worked had the writers not immediately pointed out the reference fearing its audience would not get it (which judging from the reaction in my theatre not many did). Much of the film’s humor is derived from racial stereotypes and other jokes that require minimal thinking but hey, sometimes that’s what you’re looking for.
All in all this movie does have its moments though I would not go in expecting classic Ferrell or a gross-out comedy classic like Superbad or the 40-Year-Old Virgin. This film will not challenge you mentally nor is it particularly inventive in its jokes but Ferrell puts forth a decent effort. Go into the movie expecting silly and a good time filler and you will walk out content, raise the bar any higher than you set yourself up for disappointment.
- Alison Brie makes a minor appearance in this movie though her role is underused given the comedic range we’ve seen from her in the past (Community, Bojack Horseman).
- She does however have one scene that should appeal to heterosexual males everywhere but Annie’s pretty young, we try not to sexualize her (teaser here, you’re welcome)
- A variant of this film has been done in 2007’s “Big Stan” (available on Netflix if you want to watch a terrible movie)
- Subliminal product placement is littered throughout this film
- “Want to watch 100 women get wet at the same time?” — John Mayer before performing Daughters. This was meant as a joke but I have no doubt this probably does actually happen
- “Eat your fucking salads”