Get Hard

get hardWill Ferrell and Kevin Hart team up in this comedy about a millionaire, falsely convicted of crimes he didn’t commit, having to prepare for his time in the big house while he tries to clear his name. While topically centered around white collar greed, don’t expect any kind of originality here as the film heavily borrows from films like Trading Places. Ferrell plays the dethroned millionaire James King while Hart plays the guy who cleans his car and helps him train for life in the slammer. Trouble is, Hart’s character has never been to prison…

The plot largely serves to set up the training gags and while it’s funny to see Ferrell’s character be put through the hilarious paces of his prep work (take note of “kiestering”), the premise is stretched a bit thin as the film starts to rely too much on the gags to the point of the dilution of the story. More heart to this film would’ve been a good ingredient to add while dialing back a little on the schtick. Even though the film does have its moments, I didn’t find there were a lot of laugh-out-loud points in the experience.

My concern here is that Ferrell is going in the direction of Adam Sandler in that he’s fallen into a cycle of cranking out formulaic comedies that just regurgitate films we’ve seen before only with contemporary cultural references. Hopefully that’s not the case as I like a lot of Ferrell’s work alongside his production partner Gary Sanchez. We’ll have to see what they do next…

Overall, the film is ok but not great mostly due to the formulaic approach of the movie and mediocre writing. The actors are all decent with the standout for me being Kevin Hart who has a lot more flexibility than I gave him credit for initially. He had more funny moments for me than Ferrell who was phoning in a lot of repeat gags we’ve seen him do in the past. The lineup includes Craig T. Nelson, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley Dickerson, Paul Ben-Victor, and John Mayer.

reviewed by Sean McKnight