Got Hard On Racial Stereotypes! A Simplistic Comedy That Tries Too Hard

Get Hard

            It seems like comedies are trying just about anything to get a laugh these days, scraping the bottom of the barrel for potential plots. As a result we get movies like Unfinished Business, Ride Along, and now Get Hard. To help breathe some life into the ridiculous tale the trailers show, the casting department has roped comedic legends Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell to help pull in some box office bucks. From the trailers you might expect:

  • A comedy about stereotypical prison motifs
  • Strong racist jokes that most likely know no bounds
  • Crappy plot that is usual of both of these actors
  • Same old comedy styles of the actors

So what do you get?

I can report the first two points are the strongest themes of this movie. The plot for those who don’t know is about Will Ferrell’s character James being arrested for embezzling and fraud.   The eccentric and arrogant millionaire has 30 days to get his affairs in order, which involves learning to survive in prison by local car washer Darnell (Kevin Hart). Already you might be cringing, but I admit some of the prison humor is creative, in particular the prison setup itself. I laughed more at the setting itself than the actual jokes, due to the simplistic setup and irony of James’ staff being the wardens. Unfortunately the jokes weren’t as entertaining, most of the scenes were shown in the trailers and those that weren’t, focused on the same joke themes of sex, sex, and a little prison fighting. Coat all of these jokes with curse-laden frosting and you get a mediocre comedy whose only break comes from Ferrell’s ridiculous rants. For your information, the prison riot scene has some intense strobe light action, which may precipitate seizures. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

How do they attempt to keep the prison jokes fresh? By adding every racial profile and stereotype joke you can think of. Get Hard spares no expense to poke fun at our perspectives of folks that end up in prison. Over the 100 minutes, you’ll get pummeled with mannerisms and lingo that are often associated with African thug life, including Ferrell trying on his “black face” as he calls it. They even threw in a few thug track lists to help seal the deal, some of the songs I do like. I chuckled at a few of these jokes, particular at Hart’s little impressions he plays so well, however like the prison jokes these too became stale, losing their comedic edge. Most of the jokes will be taken okay, but like always they occasionally overstep their boundaries with their jokes, perhaps starting another boycott for racial slurs. So here I warn that if you are easily offense by color jokes, you should skip this movie.

To my surprise the plot actually wasn’t half bad in this film. Get Hard has some a decent foundation for the jokes to hold anchor to mainly in the form of shaping James from pompous wuss into street champion. However there is a cute tale of brotherhood that adds some depth to otherwise one-dimensional characters and gives a little something else to the film, though not as good as Wedding Ringer. Yet it still is shallow and simplistic, and doesn’t have the emotional kick I would have liked to see.

Acting wise there isn’t much unique about this performance. Hart takes a step back towards his roots with a few shouting rants interspersed with his typical F bomb dialog. Fortunately he hasn’t returned all the way back, managing to dial down his craziness with some clever lines and good comedic timing. This allowed me to once again enjoy his comedy without wanting to punch his face in or rip my ears off, a positive thing indeed.. I can’t say the same for Ferrell though. Somehow the hairy, homely looking white guy gets a hot woman and other than money I can’t figure out why? Babes aside though, Ferrell is still the pompous, overconfident boob he always plays in his movies. He still carries his lines with that air of superiority, though in this installment he frequently degrades into a whiney, pathetic baby. I felt he tried to hard in this movie, forcing his lines on me instead of perfecting the delivery like he used to do. Much of his lines were in that high pitched whisper from Elf, only without the over-energetic emphasis that Buddy had so long ago.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I did not enjoy this movie as much I had hoped. Get Hard is indeed another simplistic comedy, where one is bombarded by endless jokes and derogative laughs. Sure it is fun at first, but most of the funny parts were shown in the trailers, and without the course language. Yet for those who love the comedians’ work, you’ll most likely laugh your heads off with the racial profanities and prison slapstick. You’ll enjoy it even more if you are drunk. Overall the choice is yours, but I recommend saving your money and catching this movie on RedBox in a few months. Believe me you can wait.

My scores are:

Comedy: 6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

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