Cert: 15 / 100 mins / Dir. Etan Cohen / Trailer
There's a secluded storeroom somewhere in the San Fernando Valley, you just know, containing millions upon millions of feet of celluloid featuring Will Ferrell improvising dialogue centered around the word dick. Almost every variation and combination of words in the English language (and some made-up words, too) are put into a seemingly endless juxtaposition of form whilst Ferrell makes The Dick-Word™ the focal point of each line. And yet the two-minute ad-libbed jump-cut assortment we're treated to in Get Hard was considered the best of the bunch.
Get Hard features the aforementioned Ferrell as a successful but gullible stockbroker who's framed for fraud and embezzlement and faces a ten year prison sentence in San Quentin*1. When he mistakenly assumes that a car valet manager (Kevin Hart) has been to prison purely because he's Afro-Caribbean, the struggling business-owner has an idea that just might help them both out of a hole…
So, yeah. Look at that poster. Almost everything you need to know about Get Hard is contained within that frame, and any straggling doubts will be more than mopped up by the trailer. The plot. The methodology. The grinding, faux-awkward tedium of it all. The film is, as expected, an hour and forty minutes of The Black Jokes™, with a brief detour into The Gay Jokes™ to break up the monotony of it all. Hell, director Etan Cohen even manages to combine the two on some occasions. Now in all fairness, it's not that the script is completely bereft of chuckles (or that insincere goodwill which papers over the cracks in this sort of film), but the laughs are telegraphed, laboured and in questionable taste. The language alone earn the film its 15 certificate, but there are also the obligatory dick-shots, just to needlessly reinforce the point.
The odd thing is that the 'tennis court scene', featuring Kevin Hart alternating through an escalating altercation between three imaginary convicts is a rare moment of fantastic writing and performing. When Hart's not shrieking and doing jokes about being short/black/gay, he's rather good, which seems to say more about his choice of roles than his ability in them. Much as Ferrell is proving here, Hart will be stuck at this level unless he can shrug off his image as a market-stall knockoff of Chris Rock.
But as much as I thought the film was lazy, predictable, cliched and reinforced far more stereotypes than it challenged, it ultimately seemed to hold itself in more contempt than its audience. So still better than anything Adam Sandler's done in recent years, then.
By no means a 'cinema-film', even though Get Hard is acceptable fare for a Saturday night with friends and beers, this still doesn't make it good enough. Will Ferrell seems to have peaked and then got stuck halfway down the other side of the comedic mountain, somehow. If this film had been made ten years ago it might have been more forgivable.
But it wasn't.
And it isn't.
Anchorman 2 was the warning shot; Get Hard is a gaping wound...
Oh, be sensible.
Either TV, or wait until you see it for £3 in Asda. If you must.
I should hope not.
I should think not.
Probably not, remarkably.
I didn't hear one, and there are a couple of prime opportunities.
Get Hard stars Craig T. Nelson, who of course provided voicework for 2004's The Incredibles, along with Sam 'Mace Windu' Jackson and John 'Major Derlin' Ratzenberger.
*1 "San Quentin? Whoa! You gonna get fucked! …They may as well call that place San Fuckin'!". That's what the 6 (SIX) writers came up with when wanting to refer to homsexuality in one of America's most fearsome prisons. San Fucking. I mean, it's hardly Oscar Wilde, is it? Which is faintly ironic, when you think about it.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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