UK Release Date: 27th March 2015
Runtime: 100 minutes
Director: Etan Cohen
Writer: Etan Cohen, Jay Martel, Ian Roberts
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley, Craig T Nelson, T.I.
Synopsis: A wealthy businessman seeks advice on how to survive behind bars from a black car washer when he learns he is to serve time in prison.
It appears Hollywood R-rated comedies have finally decided what that ‘R’ stands for. Unfortunately, for those with anything resembling taste, the ‘R’ seems to stand for either “racism” or “rape jokes” depending on the film. Get Hard – which stars the comedy double-whammy of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart – manages to include an incredibly liberal supply of both.
James King (Ferrell) is a highly successful hedge fund manager, married to Alissa (Alison Brie) – his boss’ (Craig T Nelson) daughter. He is arrested and charged with embezzling money from the company, which he denies. Terrified about the prospect of being sexually assaulted in prison, he asks his car washer Darnell (Hart) for help on surviving prison, unaware that he has never been there either.
The plot summary above doesn’t sound as if it can possibly be attached to a film made this century. It is a premise so ludicrously offensive and entirely lacking in humour that it bears repeating. Get Hard is literally a film in which an affluent white man is so scared of being raped by other men in prison that he grabs the nearest black man to teach him how to survive behind bars.
| "Don’t sexually harass me; I’m already sad."
The odd thing is that Get Hard isn’t an entirely laugh-free film. There are a couple of chuckles in there, but it’s tough to ever enjoy them because the abject horror of the film’s premise is always just around the corner. If the film, as I suspect, is supposed to be a comment on the misguided fears and naïveté of middle class America, then it absolutely does not work.
It’s thoroughly depressing that two guys with clear comedic gifts in Hart and Ferrell have lowered themselves to this material. Neither is able to mine much humour from their role or their odd-couple friendship, which is predicated entirely on a moment of horrific racism that the film tries to pass off as a hilarious, sitcom-esque misunderstanding.
Watching Get Hard is an excruciating experience. The “jokes”, focusing almost entirely on how hilarious homosexual anal rape apparently is, are unbearable to listen to. In a confirmation of its across-the-board offensiveness, the film squanders an interesting female performer – Community standout Alison Brie – by asking her to do little more than wander around in her underwear.
| "You’re not exactly a thug."
It’s rare that a film so thoroughly displays the ugliness of humanity. Get Hard is, in many ways, an achievement. It has managed to convince a large audience (the film is sat at a near $100m gross worldwide) that the kind of humour that even Frankie Boyle would wince at is acceptable in a film sold as a mainstream broad comedy. This could be the end of humour as we know it.
Pop or Poop?
Full to the brim with the kind of putrid prejudice that is used as shorthand by Hollywood comedy, Get Hard is a truly horrifying film.
Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart seem unaware of the stench surrounding the project and throw themselves wholeheartedly into roles that amount to nothing more than outdated stereotypes.
It seems adult Hollywood comedy truly is where laughter goes to die.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.