Get Hard (2015)
Directed by Etan Cohen
Soon, 47-year-old Will Ferrell will be too old to get away with this type of humor. But for now, he can still get 200 people in a packed theater audience to laugh so loud they drown out the next joke. In his newest Adam McKay-produced movie, “Get Hard,” Ferrell plays wealthy stockbroker James King, who was just arrested for embezzlement. In the 30 days before he has to serve a ten-year maximum-security prison sentence, King will ask the help of Darnell (Kevin Hart), the man that washes his car, to train him for jail. They’ll simulate prison riots, practice insults, and try to find a suitable gang to protect King on the inside. All of this humors Darnell’s wife (Edwina Findley Dickerson) and cousin (T.I.), who know how soft Darnell really is. Will King be prison-ready in 30 days, or will he be looking at an impossible ten years?
Claims of homophobia and racism have already tainted “Get Hard” before it even hits theaters. But I wasn’t surprised. These are the dated kinds of comedy that still make people laugh. It made me laugh. It’s hard not to, at times. The four-man writing crew includes McKay, who wrote “Anchorman” and “Step Brothers,” two of Ferrell’s funniest, and Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, who helped pen every episode of the hit sketch show “Key and Peele.” Knowing that, you shouldn’t be surprised that “Get Hard” was able to squeak out a few comic gems.
Will Ferrell isn’t quite what he used to be. His age hasn’t quite stopped him, but it hasn’t helped either. “Get Hard” falls somewhere between “Semi-Pro” and “Talladega Nights” on the Will Ferrell movie quality scale. Kevin Hart, just a few months after “The Wedding Ringer” (which is about equal to “Get Hard” in their ability to make me laugh) is already being pigeonholed into roles as the helpful black friend. It’s his niche, but one that he fills well. He has a steady future filling theaters and not earning a single worthwhile award nomination. But surprisingly, it was T.I. who stole the show with a killer cameo. He brings real acting to a movie that has very little of it.
“Get Hard” is what you’d expect – a vulgar, low-brow addition to the Ferrell résumé. It’s moderately funny for now, but I don’t expect it to be added to the comedy canon.