After its premiere at SXSW earlier this month, the new raunchy comedy Get Hard, teaming Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, drew outraged cries of racism, homophobia, pushing negative stereotypes – you name it. In other words, just another day at work for these guys.
This kind of R-rated raunchfest is meant to press buttons for laughs, but as I say in my video review above, it is surprising that it would be greeted as anything but a movie guaranteed to offend someone, maybe everyone. So was I offended ? I have to say ‘no’. The only thing that offends me with these kinds of big studio, silly comedies is if they aren’t funny. And with this teaming of the hit and miss Ferrell and uber hot Hart I laughed a lot. So, sue me. This pairing works and both are at their comic best. Basically it’s a one joke premise skillfully stretched out into a full length movie and, for audiences willing to go there with these boys, it works well most of the time.
Ferrell is a millionaire hedge fund whiz who is convicted of fraud and sentenced to a maximum security prison for ten years. Freaked out at the thought of doing time in a place with hardened criminals and what he thinks is a reputation for prison rape, this mild-mannered doofus reaches out to the guy (Hart) who washes his car every day. Engaging in the grossest kind of stereotyping, he assumes because he is black that he must have served time, so who better to hire as a kind of “prison trainer”. Hart, a guy who doesn’t even know how to hold a gun, needs cash for his family and sees this dope as easy money so he leads him on, plays the role of “ex-con” to the hilt and begins a 30-day program to get Ferrell “hard”. Much of the movie consists of these training sessions, and for the most part they work because clearly the joke is on Ferrell’s clueless, well-meaning but hopelessly politically incorrect character. And the film does have a good message before it’s over, showing it is best not to judge each other by appearances because generally you would be wrong. Perhaps it is the times we live in, but to be offended by this kind of stuff is really taking it far too seriously. This ain’t Shakespeare, but it’s fun. Mel Brooks has said he could never have made Blazing Saddles in today’s world, which is too bad. Lighten up, folks. However , if you’re not into graphic language and nudity or general hard ‘R’ raunch, you might want to steer clear.
Get Hard was directed by Etan Cohen, a first timer behind the camera who also co-wrote the script with Ben Stiller and Justin Theroux for Stiller’s classic of political incorrectness, Tropic Thunder. You remember that one, don’t you? Robert Downey Jr. played most of it in blackface and took home an Oscar nomination. Like that movie, the offensive stuff works here because we are made to laugh at these guys, not with them. Cohen co-wrote this script too with Jay Martel & Ian Roberts from a story by the latter pair and Adam McKay (a Ferrell regular). McKay, Ferrell and Chris Henchy produced. Warner Bros is releasing.
Do you plan to see it? Check out my video review above and let us know what you think.