Whatever you have to say in praise or criticism of Get Hard one thing's for sure; there won't be another movie this year that will have as many erection and cocksucking jokes. Well there might be, but it won't leave you with the unforgettable slow motion sequence of Will Ferrell's open mouth plunging toward a penis. The premise is ridiculous, the scripting is flimsy; but with Ferrell and Kevin Hart it's almost impossible for you not to laugh at something in the ridiculous convergence of class and race stereotypes.
Will Ferrell plays James King, a high stakes trader whose benefitting from his savant level manipulation of the stock market until the FBI convicts him of embezzlement. When Kevin Hart's Darnell Lewis, owner of King's company car park carwash, is mistaken for an ex-con he jumps on the opportunity to prepare King for his maximum-security prison sentence, for a price. Let the man rape jokes ensue.
There are almost as many writers for this film as there are cast members. With Cohen, Jay Martel, Ian Roberts (not the footballer cum Superman Returns henchman) and McKay all pitching in for gags along the way. Despite reflecting and fully acknowledging that there's some kind of narrative trajectory function beneath the new settings for gags, you'll probably find yourself remembering the sequence of events jumbled. The details of the story are basically inconsequential. The characters though; King - 'good' and idiot savant stock broker and Darnell - car wash owner struggling to make the money his family need to burst out of the lower class; are good vehicles for their performers to interact and make with the funny. It's the kind of film that in one moment you're cackling and in the next moment you're checking the time. In each new bit you're engaged because you get to just absorb the chemistry of this comedic dynamic duo but the narrative threads (and less affective bits) feel like yawning chasms of unfunny.
Cohen's music choices are Robert Zemeckis level obvious so that you'll find yourself listening to Iggy Azalea's Fancy when you're looking at 'fancy' things or Tupac's Changes when things 'change' for the characters. Someone needs to kick (usually great) composer Christophe Beck in the crotch for phoning this one in.
Ferrell has a lot of fun with King's financial genius but complete lack of street savvy or 'common' sense that makes him that guy you both love and sadistically love to see up to his ears in shit (figuratively of course). Hart's character works because he allows this feeling of disbelief to slip through at the height of King's commitment to the cause. Hart's best scene by far is across from his on screen wife Rita played by Edwina Findley Dickerson. He's been able to fool the dullard King that he's an ex-con but when he starts 'thugging out' on his wife she slaps the obedience back into him. The hilarious and splendid dramatic performer Alison Brie is really only in Get Hard to inspire some of the titular movement in the pants for the hetero men and inclined ladies in the audience. Her longest scene in the film features her in a skimpy piece of lingerie (not that really anyone was complaining) but she feels totally wasted as pure eye candy.
Get Hard is like a flaccid dick standing with the assistance of two splints; Ferrell and Hart. Without stars this funny to hold it up, it's not worth looking at.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to legacy audio reviews on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Directed by: Etan Cohen Written by: Jay Martel (screenplay/story) & Ian Roberts (screenplay/story), Adam McKay (Story) and Etan Cohen (screenplay) Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley Dickerson, Craig T. Nelson, Ariana Neal
Blake Howard is a writer, a podcaster, the editor-in-chief & co-founder of Australian film blog Graffiti With Punctuation. Beginning his criticism APPRENTICESHIP as co-host of That Movie Show 2UE, Blake is now a member of the prestigious Online Film Critic Society, sways the Tomato Meter with Rotten Tomatoes approved reviews. See his articulated words and shrieks (mostly) here at Graffitiwithpunctuation.com and with DarkHorizons.com & 2SER Sydney weekly on Gaggle of Geeks.