Sunday, January 24, 2016

Get Hard

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  With a title like Get Hard, will there be any jokes about erections--yes, there will be a ton of them.

Get Hard – 2 out of 5

I’m a pretty big fan of Will Ferrell and I enjoy Kevin Hart here and there.  However, the trailers for Get Hard weren’t really selling me on the film.  It didn’t look terrible but it didn’t look funny enough where I had to get out there and see it in the theater—and it didn’t really seem to be that great where I had to watch it the minute it came out at RedBox (I dropped your name, I will gladly take a check now).  However, I was bored and didn’t really see anything else that was striking my fancy and decided to take a shot—if nothing else, I concluded, it has to have some funny moments with Ferrell and Hart in it.  Right?

The sad reality is this shot can probably be taken from any number of Ferrell's films...
and I'm saying that as an admitted fan of the guy.

James King (Ferrell) seems to have life by the short and curlies.  He has the hand of a gorgeous woman (Alison Brie) and he has gathered a decent wealth due to his career as a hedge fund manager at his soon-to-be father-in-law’s operation (Craig T. Nelson).  However, one day he is arrested for fraud and embezzlement and is looking at spending a lot of time in prison even though he swears he’s innocent.  Scared that he won’t survive the ordeal, he hires Darnell (Hart)—the gentleman who washes his car, to help him prepare for his sentence.  The kicker here is that King is a tad on the slower side and thinks because Darnell is black he’s been to prison.  Darnell is a harmless guy who hasn’t even turned in a library book late and isn’t the man who can really teach a person how to be a badass in prison but he needs the money King is offering and agrees to toughen the rich man up.  However, it’s not long before Darnell starts to believe King and thinks someone else is responsible for the embezzlement and framed King.

One can easily assume by the reaction of Hart that Ferrell's character is getting hurt in some way...
and most likely the pain is being inflicted upon the genitals.

Get Hard starts out pretty decently with some gags I really enjoyed at the expense of the 1%-ers.  However, it didn’t take long before I found I was laughing less and less and groaning more and more.  Predictably, the film’s title and its play on erections come into play and are too often involved in gags that go way too long.  Then, the film brings in the not surprising jokes about prison rape and a lot of jokes about racial stereotypes.  Granted, these jokes are never offensive and aren’t really just pointless material in order to shock but are, instead, really just lazy and just way too obvious.

Craig T. Nelson is frighteningly realistic as a 1%-er.

It's funny because Hart is super tiny.
Formulaic humor and jokes that just don’t resonate with me is one thing, however, there was something that was a lot harder to overlook.  Like a lot of comedies that feel like the humor isn’t that strong, there’s the feeling that they are trying to make up for it but extending the bad jokes into longer scenes.  Sorta like the production is trying to course-correct and turn shit into gold...or unfunny into funny.  Very often, this extension of jokes just come off like the director had no idea when to yell cut or could never figure out where to properly edit a scene down in order to stop the pain of a joke that isn’t working or the attempt to "fix" the joke that isn't working.  It gives a lot of scenes the feeling that the sequence was improvised but only improvised once and with little-to-no discussion over the possibility of trying something new that could work.  It made for a film that, too often, gets uncomfortable to sit through because you are just watching two very talented comedic players struggle to make unfunny material humorous.  I like Ferrell and Hart and this film just felt like I was watching them fail at the thing I know they are good at.  It was like a comedy open mic, in that sense.

Pictured:  The struggle just mentioned in the last paragraph.

Finally, the hardest part to overlook was the fact that Will Ferrell, very often, looked like he just didn’t care about the film.  Hart is giving his all—even when it’s clear that he thinks the scene isn’t working—and he’s really trying to bring the funny but there were times that Ferrell looked like he wasn’t 100% committed to the role he was playing.  Sure, there are times when both Will and Kevin are quite humorous but there are just as many times where it appears they are giving “The Check Cleared” level of dedication.

I will admit that any scene with Kevin Hart and this gentleman was very, very amusing.

Get Hard has its moments very early on and a few sparsely littered here and there but, for the most part, I just didn’t find the film funny.  Matters weren’t helped due to the fact that all the jokes feel overly familiar and can be seen coming a mile away but the worst part of all of it is the perception that the two leads don’t look like they really care about the product.  I had hoped this was going to be a sleeper hit type of comedy for me where I go in with little-to-no expectations and walk out holding my sides in from laughing but I ended up being a tad disappointed.

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