Get Hard

It’s a match made in comedy-lovers’ heaven– Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell teaming up for an unadulterated, uncensored laugh-off. And though Get Hard doesn’t quite live up to its potential (how could it, really?), it’s still as funny a movie to hit screens so far this year. Offensive, obscene, and even racist/gay-bashing, sure… but damn funny.

Yes, there were plenty of times when I squirmed a little in my seat (okay… a lot), but I also laughed. And laughed hard. Heck, my reasoning is simple: If Kevin Hart took a look at the script and said, “Sign me up!” (which, clearly he did), and if T.I. did the same thing (again, he did), well… who am I to sit up in a pulpit and yell about how un-PC it is? Frankly, I take their involvement as permission for me to enjoy it.

Ferrell is James King, a hedge fund manager whose personal wealth makes Warren Buffett look a little down on his luck. He’s engaged to Alissa (Alison Brie), the daughter of his boss Martin (Craig T. Nelson), and life is pretty good– until King is arrested on dozens of counts of fraud and embezzlement. When the judge throws the book at him and sentences him to 10 years in San Quentin, the lily-white wimp realizes he won’t last thirty seconds “inside”, so he approaches Darnell (Hart) for advice; since Darnell is black, he’s obviously been to jail, duh. Turns out, though, Darnell is a khaki-wearing family man, and when King offers him $30,000 for “jail training”, Darnell is too excited about the prospect of a new, safe school for his daughter to be offended.

Speaking of “offended”, get ready to be– particularly if you have a low tolerance for anything politically/racially/sexual-orientationally/or otherwise incorrect. Hardly three minutes goes by without someone pointing out that King will surely be raped as soon as he gets to jail, and every taboo part of the male or female anatomy gets its moment in the sun at one point or another. (I’m convinced Brie is only here to showcase skimpy lingerie.)

I imagine the script, co-written by Key & Peele writers Ian Roberts and Jay Martel, along with first-time feature director Etan Cohen, will draw the ire of some viewers (particularly of the “critic” variety), and there’s no ignoring the fact that most of it is nothing but an attempt to push as many buttons as possible, as often as possible, as hard as possible.

All that being said, Ferrell and Hart are great together, riffing off each other like a couple of old pros (which, I suppose, they are). Their ability to effectively deliver a funny line or make a horrifically squirm-inducing moment laugh-worthy (wait for the bathroom stall scene) helps elevate Get Hard from the forgettable “wait for the DVD” flick it could have been.

Just be sure to leave your delicate sensibilities at the door. Better yet, just forget you ever had any.

3.5/5 stars