Get Hard (2015)

Get Hard (2015)
  • Time: 100 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Etan Cohen
  • Cast: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie


When millionaire hedge fund manager James (Will Ferrell) is nailed for fraud and bound for a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him 30 days to get his affairs in order. Desperate, he turns to Darnell (Kevin Hart) to prep him for a life behind bars. But despite James’ one-percenter assumptions, Darnell is a hard-working small business owner who has never received a parking ticket, let alone been to prison. Together, the two men do whatever it takes for James to “get hard” and, in the process, discover how wrong they were about a lot of things – including each other.


  • Comedies are under no obligation to be anything other than funny. The best and the boldest go for something deeper. Look how the comedies from the first half of the 20th century spoke to the way we live, the advancement of technology, the divide between the races and classes. Any Chaplin or Keaton silent, Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels and The Palm Beach Story, Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey, Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday, or George Stevens’ The More the Merrier (which mined romance and laughs from the WW2 housing shortage), to name but a few, delivered the laughs, the majority of which were rooted in their social / economic / political commentary.

    So, too, did Eighties comedies like Paul Mazursky’s Down and Out in Beverly Hills (itself a remake of the 1932 Jean Renoir film, Boudu Saved from Drowning) and John Landis’ Trading Places, both of which cover much the same ground as Get Hard. Yet all of the aforementioned films are far fresher, funnier, and sharper than anything Get Hard has to offer. What all those films also shared was a generosity of spirit for even the most caricaturish of its characters, an affection that prevented malice or mean-spiritedness from ever seeping in. No such warmheartedness exists in Get Hard, which pairs two of the funniest men working today and saddles them with a script that revels in reaching for the lowest hanging comic fruit.

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  • What can I say, I’m a sucker for classless, offensive, and indecorous comedies. If the jokes are tight, the actors sell their lines, and the vehicle does whatever it can to generate a laugh, well it’s worth it. 2015’s Get Hard because of its Red Band trailer, enticed me to get on board. Yeah, the bulk of it (at just under a running time of three minutes) is pretty dicey. The actual movie, well that’s a different story. In truth, “Hard” is a gregariously mild affair. It has very few laughs and vaguely routine performances from two overexposed movie stars (Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart). Sadly, it just doesn’t get “hard” enough.

    Speaking of its stars, I’ve been hearing all over social media that Hart and Ferrell have been relentlessly promoting their first flick together. Will Ferrell has even gone so far as to posing as third base coach for The Chicago Cubs (spring training style). The myth of said promotions says that they know the movie is bad, know audiences won’t like it but hey, it’s crucial that they get people in the theater via the first week (so Warner Bros. studios and Gary Sanchez productions can possibly break even). After taking in a viewing of Get Hard at 1:30 yesterday, I can safely say that its cast and crew needed some form of due diligence.

    Now some critics in question, have mentioned Get Hard in the same breath as Trading Places or one of those Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor capers from years past. I felt a slight comparison in this respect, but not enough to actually announce it. “Places” and See No Evil, Hear No Evil are intelligently written yuck fests with a certain plausibility to boot. Get Hard on the other hand, relies on gangbanger stereotypes, gay stereotypes, jokes about prison rape, and gags concerning oral sex (in prison) to get its point across. This is tired, recycled stuff from ear to ear. The humor doesn’t really shock you and the lead actors try to sell it with annoying, impov overload.

    First timer Etan Cohen not only directs, but also has a hand in writing the screenplay. You figured the same dude who penned the hilariously juicy Tropic Thunder would again strike gold. Negatory. It feels like the script here didn’t have some sort of treatment and was hastily rushed to the actors right before production. Anyway, “Hard” begins its story by chronicling one James King (Will Ferrell). He’s a rich dude and a successful hedge fund manager. He’s also got a beautiful yet superficial wife and a righteous set of wheels. James has it in good with his future father-in-law, Martin Barrow (played by Craig T. Nelson in a one note performance. What was he thinking?) He’s about to become partner in Martin’s firm. But wait, Martin sets him up on charges that he ripped his clients off. James gets detained, sentenced to ten years in San Quentin State Prison, and loses his engagement to his ex-future (gold digger) wife. His solution: survive the big house with the help of the schlep that routinely washes his car. Enter Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart). James thinks because Darnell is black, he’s done some serious time. Darnell can train James to handle life in the slammer and pocket $30,000 in the process (he needs the money to buy a house and move his family out of a bad neighborhood. King is willing to pay him this money). High jinks ensue when Hart’s Darnell turns King’s mansion into the actual, fearsome facility (famously known for harboring death row inmates). Over time, the two form a friendship and have an interesting way of working out in their simulated San Quentin (Ferrell lifts midget-sized Hart instead of using actual weights to bulk up. This seems funny on paper but on screen, it falls flat).

    Here’s some things I liked about Get Hard: 1. Kevin Hart’s Darnell reenacts a prison riot as part of King’s training for hard time. It’s complete with a strobe light and a freaky monkey. 2. an amusing cameo from singer John Mayer. He performs at a party held by Ferrell’s King. Right before he sings his hit song “Daughters” he says, “ever see 100 women get wet at the same time?” That’s so John Mayer. 3. Ferrell’s character picks a fight with an old timer in a park (this is again part of his prison training). He gets the crud beat out of him while being told, “I was in Vietnam motherf**ker!”

    Here’s some things that had me scratching my head about Get Hard: 1. Ferrell’s character wears an ankle bracelet during the thirty days before he has to get his affairs in order. He tries to leave the country by cutting said bracelet only to be arrested, thrown to the ground, and cuffed. Cut to the next scene and he’s back walking around L.A. Huh? He probably should have been put in the county jail or confined to his home before his decade-long term commences. 2. speaking of Ferrell’s ankle bracelet, well it sure has one broad territory. After already being detained for trying to escape once, you’re telling me that he can travel from his swanky pad in I guess, Beverly Hills to Crenshaw boulevard (and almost everywhere else) without setting it off? Yeah right. 3. Ferrell’s character is innocent and he’s going to jail based on something his future father-in-law did. But what exactly? Talk about a plot that is thin skinned. It’s obvious that the people who worked on Get Hard didn’t do the research needed to explain the aspects of fraud and embezzlement. Ferrell’s King gets busted and gets the veritable Bernie Madoff treatment (along with going through the speediest trial ever captured on film). His key to freedom lies within data stored in a computer from the 1980’s. Please. 4. the oral sex scene involving Ferrell’s King and a guy in a bathroom stall is supposed to blur the lines of bad taste. However, it just doesn’t come off as bold enough. For one, King doesn’t go through with the act anyway and second, an 0.5 second snippet of frontal nudity is shown for effect. Muted shock value at best.

    In conclusion, you know what to expect when you see a movie starring Kevin Hart or Will Ferrell. They are from the “Vince Vaughn” school of acting by which they give the same darn performances over and over again. Their comedic styles differ somewhat with Will being the dimwitted bulb who’s subjected to dumbing himself down and Kevin being the hyperactive fast talker with the skewed gift of gab. Heck, I figured that if you put them in a flick together, they’d be too bad for each other. They’d produce a fireball! Not so much here. It’s more neutered than anything else. Therefore, I’m gonna go with a 2 star rating. Get Hard “hardly” gets my recommendation.

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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  • Tony Barton

    Get Hard is action comedy, written by Etan Cohen, Jay Martel and Ian Roberts and directed by Etan Cohen.

    James (Will Farrell) is a successful executive working at a huge financial organisation run by Martin (Craig T Nelson). James is engaged to Alissa (Alison Brie), who happens to be Martin’s daughter. Martin sends for James and tells him how proud he is to be getting him as a future son-in-law. Just when James thought that things couldn’t get any better, Martin then tells him that he’s decided to make him a partner.

    Darnell, who runs a small car wash business, tries to ease his mounting money worries, by offering James a life time membership to his car wash for $30,000. James doesn’t see his offer as good business however, and immediately turns him down. Alissa and Martin arrange a party to celebrate the engagement, during which, she gives James an electric guitar as a gift. Just as James begins to entertain the many family and friends in attendance, in storm the FBI who duly arrest James for fraud.

    Martin vows to help James and immediately puts his lawyer on the case. As his hearing draws nearer, Martin’s lawyer tries to get James to plead guilty, saying he’ll be out of jail in a year. James is very conscientious however, and decides against it, believing the truth will emerge and clear his name. The hearing arrives and the Judge decides to make an example of James and sentences him to ten years at the high security prison San Quentin and gives James thirty days to put his affairs in order. So with his world in tatters, James tries to get Alissa to run away with him. However, Alissa shows her true colours and leaves him.

    A couple days later, James approaches Darnell and asks him to teach him how to survive in prison. Darnell refuses at first, but finally agrees after the desperate James offers to give him the $30,000 he needs. So the laughs come thick and fast as James embarks on his training regime, completely unaware that Darnell, as never actually been in prison and Darnell as 30,000 reasons to keep it secret.

  • Quickie Review:

    James King (Will Ferrell) is sentenced guilty for white collar crimes. Completely naïve to the world outside his mansion, he hires Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) to train and prepare him for the life behind bars. Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart have a very good comedic chemistry. The two personalities make the best of a predictable movie, and they are the reason why this movies works. More often than not it’s a really funny movie but when jokes falls flat, it misses by a large margin. All in all, Get Hard is an enjoyable comedy simply because of the cast.

    Full Review:

    I love lot of Will Ferrell’s movies, and I really enjoy Kevin Hart’s stand up. So seeing this duo in a feature film should get me excited, but I wasn’t. Mainly because I feared this movie would just be a collection of scenes that feel like skits. While that is somewhat the actual result, as a whole the movie was funny and hence I ended up having a pretty good time.

    If you have seen any of Will Ferrell’s previous movies, you know exactly the type of character he is playing. Once again he is a bumbling idiot oblivious to, and out of touch with society norms. You would think that’d be a tiring gimmick, and you would be right if this was a solo Ferrell starring movie. Thankfully Get Hard still feels comedically fresh because of the addition of Kevin Hart. The best parts of the movie are the scenes dedicated to the two leads. They improvise a lot of these scenes off of their comedic strengths. Ferrell is great at delivering jokes that are borderline offensive but still likeable because it doesn’t fully cross that line. Meanwhile Hart is excellent with the physical comedy with his more animated body language. Special mention to T.I. who has a small role in the movie but steals the few scenes he is in.

    Although I enjoyed majority of the improvisation, it may also be the movie’s biggest weakness. There are moments where a particular joke starts off well, but goes on for far too long. It starts to feel a little desperate, and if it isn’t a good joke to begin with, it becomes progressively worse. Luckily this doesn’t happen too frequently but it is noticeable. Additionally this movie is very predictable. I knew the exact beats of the story to expect within the first 15mins of the movie. So there is nothing surprising story wise, it follows the clichéd formula of comedies.

    Despite the formulaic story and few overstretched jokes, Get Hard was pleasantly enjoyable. It delivers on consistent laughs, nothing gut busting but still satisfying. If you are a fan of Will Ferrell or Kevin Hart this is definitely a must-watch. On the other hand if you’re just a casual viewer looking for some laughs and a good time, I’d still recommend giving Get Hard a try (at least when released on VOD).

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