Get Hard

With a title like that, it's very hard (no pun intended) not to judge this film right away. It should act as a warning, as it suggests the level of humour that will be reached here. James King (Will Ferrell) is a rich, successful businessman whose perfect life is ruined when he is arrested for fraud and sentenced to ten years in a maximum security prison. He employs the help of Darnell (Kevin Hart) to "train" him for prison life, believing that Darnell has been to prison before (which it turns out he hasn't). Cue "hilarity" as Darnell attempts to teach Ferrell how to act tough, fight, join a gang and engage in sexual activity with a man. Its as bland, crude and offensive as it sounds. You know all those prison stereotypes that just aren't funny? Well imagine they made a movie solely based around them. The writing is just appalling, with jokes that can be seen coming a mile away and nothing unexpected or inventive. With Will Ferrell clearly a capable and often hilarious comedian, you would've thought they would've at least attempted to stretch his acting talent but this is just a run of the mill performance for him. And while I don't personally enjoy Kevin Hart's brand of humour, he is equally as stale with only a handful of chucklesome lines. There is the feeling throughout that these two could do so much better than this lazy attempt. 

Bad humour is one thing but outright offensiveness is where the line should be drawn. There is a fine distinction between mocking homophobia and just being homophobic, which Get Hard spectacularly fails to master. Creating the impression that gay men are shallow and desperate for sex is just blindingly unfunny and pretty ridiculous really. It is insulting for the writers to believe that a scene where Will Ferrell attempts to grope another man in a toilet cubicle is going to make anyone even smile and it illustrates the wider issue of Hollywood's troublesome homophobia and their continued ignorance. But is it even worth getting too riled up about the offensive factor of Get Hard? Does it even deserve that amount of anger? No. This is the definition of scraping the bottom of the barrel and surely there can't be anymore juvenile genetalia jokes remaining for writers to use? Oh wait, here comes Hot Tub Time Machine 2...

The rule of three is a pretty well known rule when it comes to the comedy genre but time and again they bypass it here. How many times do they think Ferrell being beaten up by older men will be funny? Or Kevin Hart being cowardly and girly? Oh wait, that's his one joke isn't it? Oh dear. Alison Brie is also greatly underused as Ferrell's fiancee and just outright exploited for her sex appeal. We know she talented from Community but here she gets nothing, cast as a spoilt gold digger and nothing more. Oh and let's not even talk about Clifford "T.I." Harris' role, it's not worth it. Some have said Get Hard is also mildly racist but they just manage to bypass this issue, which is where the majority of the humorous moments happen, including Ferrell's assumption that Darnell had been arrested before. Sadly, these laughs are few and far between.

On paper, the premise had some potential and in the right hands it may have succeeded but the director Etan Cohen butchers it. The studio is so obviously helping to sell the movie just based on the star power of Ferrell and Hart and it is pretty clear how exploited their talent is here. This must be Hart's lucky or unlucky year (depends how you see it), with this and The Wedding Ringer earning him big bucks for little effort. Ultimately, Get Hard is puerile, insulting and just plain rubbish.