With Ferrell and Hart you “Get” what you expect

MOVIE REVIEW – Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart an amusing duo in “Get Hard.”

By Zaida Diaz, Valley Life Editor

The long and short of “Get Hard” is the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart team up gets its share of laughs.

The comedic giants (Hart not quite as big in stature) share the big screen to create a provocative but humorous buddy film. Veteran comedy writer Etan Cohen (“Idiocracy”) makes his directorial debut with a daring comedy with a touch of political commentary and packed with racial and prison-rape jokes; it will surely offend some viewers.

Still, Ferrell’s goofy hedge fund manager and Hart’s pushy and deceiving characters make for quite the mash up. Ferrell’s attempted tough look (his “sad-dog face”) or the sight of the 6’3″ Ferrell using 5’4″ Hart as a barbell to bench press are simply hilarious. 

James (Ferrell) has it all, from eye-catching fiancée (Alison Brie) to sprawling Bel Air mansion; that is until he’s framed for fraud and sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin. After James is done wasting time crying over his situation, he turns to his carwash man, Darnell (Hart), to prepare him for life in prison. Why Darnell? According to James’ statistical analysis, “One out of three black men will find themselves incarcerated within their lifetime,” therefore it’s only logical that Darnell has.

Darnell has a clean record, but accepts the job anyway to fund his business and help get his daughter into a better school.

Darnell, regarded as a “Cliff Huxtable-looking motherf-cker” by his criminal cousin Russell (rapper T.I.), trains James by simulating prison scenarios aimed to toughen him up or “get him hard” – hence the double-entendre title.

During one scene in the “prison yard” Darnell has built for James’ training, Hart switches off impersonations of black inmates, Chicano gangsters, and prison queens (see clip), while a confused Ferrell asks, “Are there any French gangs?”

While many viewers will quickly jump to critique “Get Hard” for its crude content, they should also remark on its comment on income inequality.

“People who grow up in a bubble of wealth don’t understand the problems that everyone one else deals with,” Cohen told the Hollywood Reporter.

This is made most obvious in the scene when the film pokes fun at James’ boss/future father-in-law, Martin (Craig T. Nelson). Martin rhapsodizes about how he built an empire from humble beginnings, with a mere $8-million loan from his father.

Darnell (Kevin Hart) and James (Will Ferrell) visit Crenshaw Kings leader Russell's (T.I.).Warner Bros.

Darnell (Kevin Hart) and James (Will Ferrell) visit Crenshaw Kings leader Russell’s (T.I.).

Not only does the film look at the privileges of the 1-percenters, but it also considers the assumptions they make about the rest of the world. James’ perceptions of people from different ethnicities are highly influenced by pop culture. For instance when Darnell takes James to visit Russell, James leaves his home in Lil Wayne-inspired attire (see right) – an attempt to fit in.

It’s stereotypical, but intentionally. “Get Hard” isn’t always supposed to be easy to watch.

3 stars (out of 5)

“Get Hard” opens in theaters March 27

Rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug material


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