2015, R, 100 min. Directed by Etan Cohen. Starring Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Craig T. Nelson, Edwina Findley Dickerson, Ariana Neal, T.I..
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 27, 2015
When Wall Street tycoon James King (Ferrell) is arrested for embezzlement at his engagement party to cash-mad Alissa (Brie), he recruits Darnell (Hart) – his previously unnoticed car washer – to train him to withstand the rigors of life in the big house. King, being a rich white guy, has erred in his assumption that Darnell, being a person of color, is intimately familiar with prison life. Topical, interracial, fish-out-of-water laughs ensue. Well, not really, unless you find homophobic, racist, and just plain idiotic gags a hoot. Beyond a leper’s handful of jokes that actually connect, this might as well be Ferrell’s most abysmal piece of work since the disastrous Land of the Lost.
Ferrell long ago proved that he’s a terrifically talented actor and comic when working with equally fine material. The Anchorman films, Elf, and the truly inspired Stranger Than Fiction are all prime examples of serious skills, be they comic or otherwise. With Get Hard, however, Ferrell has traded in his “funny or die” mantra for something more like “silly or die” or maybe “puerile or cry.” (His character, a spineless, generic Wall Street caricature, really does gush buckets from time to time.)
It’s a bizarre misfire, made even stranger by the talent behind the project, chief among them Key & Peele staff writers Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, who could have injected some seriously subversive comedy vis-à-vis our current, increasingly heated national conversations on race and income inequality. Instead, the whole film is a nonstop parade of dick jokes, rape jokes, and Will Ferrell making the same goofy faces he first introduced on SNL ages ago. This is uninspired stuff at best. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to comedy jail.