Get Hard is a movie with a great premise–Rich white guy asks his black friend to help him survive in prison. Sadly for Get Hard, it fails to reach its comedic potential. Will Ferrell is James, a wildly successful stock broker. After being falsely convicted of insider training and embezzlement, James is sent to ten years in a maximum prison. Afraid of being killed and worse, James asks his friend Darnell (Kevin James) to give him the skills necessary to survive in prison.
Release Date: March 27, 2015
Writers: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts
Director: Etan Cohen
Cast: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Craig T. Nelson, T.I.
Get Hard is essentially a buddy comedy. Two unlikely people are forced to team up under false pretenses and eventually become friends. Will Farrell and Kevin Hart play the characters they have been bred to play in movies.
As James, Will Farrell plays the familiar white guy, who is oblivious to the world around him, and everything he knows of prison and African-American culture comes from film and television. Kevin James is also comfortable as Darnell, the African-American struggling to provide for his family and realize the American dream of owning a high-end car detailing business.
James learns a valuable lesson about the misconception and prejudices about the African-American community. Darnell also learns about friendship when he has to hide the fact that he’s the furthest thing from a thug imaginable.
As a comedy, it relies on a constant stream of laughs and the all-important big moments. Get Hard has an adequate supply of laughs. Ferrell gets big laughs as he attempts to talk tough. James manages to cover up the fact that he knows nothing about the thug life and shows it by turning James’ home into a makeshift prison with golf club bars.
Unfortunately, the needed big moments come in the form of raunchy humor with payoffs that fall flat. Maybe the sodomy and keistering jokes should have been funny, but it just comes off as uncomfortable.
The heart of the movie is the relationship between Farrell and Hart. They are a good pair. You can’t help but root for them individually and as friends. With just a few writing adjustments, Get Hard could have been a great movie.