Review: Get Hard (2015)

Amusing story of a naive businessman getting ready to face a jail term in one of America's most dangerous prisons

Get Hard, directed by Etan Cohen (screenplay author of Tropic Thunder, Men In Black 3), has recently hit the big screen with force.

Anyone familiar with the films of Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Step Brothers, Old School) will already know what to expect from his latest venture: ridiculously delivered lines and a few belly laugh moments. The team-up of Ferrell and Adam McKay (writer of Anchorman) usually delivers with the comedy, although this time it seems a tad forced. Not to say it doesn’t have the entertainment factor, but on occasion it feels like a bit of a farce. That being said, the combination of Kevin Hart (Ride Along, The Wedding Ringer) and Ferrell does seem to pay off; the onscreen chemistry between the two does seem to carry the moderately weak plot throughout.

Get Hard focuses on the story of James King (Ferrell), a successful investment banker, being wrongfully charged with fraud and sentenced to ten years in a much-feared maximum security prison. Given thirty days to prepare himself and say his goodbyes, you start to see King essentially on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Enter Darnell (Hart) a struggling car wash business owner who works in the garage of King’s firm. The two strike up a deal, where Darnell is to help King in preparing for life inside in exchange for $20,000.

There are a few scenes in this film that make it worth a watch, in particular when King is delivering some prison threats to Darnell in order to come across intimidating; similar to lines in Anchorman, hilarious albeit slightly over the top (but that is the genius of Ferrell’s style). But there are also a few scenes that may feel viewers feel rather uncomfortable, which I will not mention. Throw in an argument with a gang of Neo-Nazis, a few lessons in fighting and the renovation of King’s mansion into a makeshift prison, and that sums up the content of this 100-minute debacle.

Since its release, Get Hard has been under fire from critics as it has been viewed as racist and homophobic, with many jokes related to African-American prison and gang culture. Personally, I do not see it this way. Yes, there are jokes that are included to shock viewers, but overall I believe this film has more of a satirical take on the issues presented.

“The trick to keeping it funny is not being afraid to push the envelope,” Hart told the Associated Press during an interview alongside his co-star. “At the end of the day, stereotyping is a situation a lot of people are guilty of, including myself. Until you know someone, it’s unfair to judge that book by its cover.”

Overall, I would say that as American comedies go this definitely isn’t one of the must-see films of 2015, falling short of the standard usually shown by its stars. But as comedies go this definitely is not the worst ever to be released on the big screen. I believe audiences will be divided in opinion, but nontheless if you are looking for a few shock laughs and some mild entertainment I would recommend giving it a watch. Being a fan of Ferrell I can say people of similar tastes will definitely get a few laughs out of this.

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