Movie Review: Get Hard

Will Farrell and Kevin Hart in Get Hard photo: Warner Brothers

Will Farrell and Kevin Hart in Get Hard
photo: Warner Brothers

After its premiere at SXSW earlier this month, the new raunchy comedy Get Hard, teaming Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, drew outraged cries of racism, homophobia, pushing negative stereotypes—you name it.

“In other words, just another day at work for these guys. This kind of R-rated raunchfest is meant to press buttons for laughs, but it is sort of surprising that it would be greeted as anything but a movie guaranteed to offend someone, maybe everyone,” said Deadline columnist Pete Hammond.

This movie is offensive but it offends everyone in such a hilarious way, it’s hard to get angry. I think the only way this movie would be truly offensive is if it wasn’t funny. It was the kind of humor that was so ridiculous you had no choice but to laugh. I definitely had my fair share of genuine laughs. Hart and Ferrell are two great comedians so I am not surprised.

Ferrell is a millionaire hedge fund whiz who is convicted of fraud and sentenced to a maximum security prison for 10 years. Freaked out at the thought of doing time in a place with hardened criminals and what he thinks is a reputation for prison rape, this mild-mannered doofus reaches out to the guy (Hart) who washes his car every day. Engaging in the grossest kind of stereotyping, he assumes because he is Black that he must have served time, so who better to hire as a kind of ‘prison trainer.’ Hart, a guy who doesn’t even know how to hold a gun, needs cash for his family and sees this dope as easy money so he leads him on, plays the role of ‘ex-con’ to the hilt and begins a 30-day program to get Ferrell ‘hard.’

Much of the movie consists of these training sessions, and for the most part they work because clearly the joke is on Ferrell’s clueless, well-meaning but hopelessly politically incorrect character. And the film does have a good message before it’s over, showing it is best not to judge each other by appearances because generally you would be wrong. Perhaps it is the times we live in, but to be offended by this kind of stuff is really taking it far too seriously. Lighten up, folks. However, if you’re not into graphic language and nudity or general hard ‘R’ raunch, you might want to steer clear. Definitely not a movie for children.

Get Hard was directed by Etan Cohen, a first timer behind the camera who also co-wrote the script with Ben Stiller and Justin Theroux for Stiller’s classic of political incorrectness, Tropic Thunder. Robert Downey Jr. played most of it in blackface and took home an Oscar nomination. Like that movie, the offensive stuff works here because we are made to laugh at these guys, not with them. Cohen co-wrote this script too with Jay Martel & Ian Roberts from a story by the latter pair and Adam McKay. McKay, Ferrell and Chris Henchy produced. Warner Bros is releasing.

Get Hard opens this Friday, March 27.