“… I liked Get Hard more when it was called Big Stan, and that movie stars Rob Schneider.”
Just a heads up for anyone who cares: this review may have spoilers for Get Hard. Read at your own risk.
So I wanted to take a break after watching some pretty emotionally heavy movies over the past week or so. This decision got me to watch the hilarious comedy Get Hard. Whoops, not hilarious. What’s that other word? Oh ya, mediocre. Get Hard follows James King (Will Ferrell), a hedge-fund manager who is convicted of fraud and sentenced to time in a maximum security prison. Luckily the judge gave him 30 days to get his affairs in order, so he hires Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart), a straight-edge business owner who is down-on-his-luck, to teach him how to survive in prison. The joke being that Darnell hasn’t been to prison, but James assumed that he had because of the colour of his skin. Get it? It’s funny I guess. The film also stars a bunch of other people, but who gives a shit?
The story of Get Hard is shaky at best, but the film is a comedy so I’m willing to look past any minor mistakes that may have been made. Well, I should say that I would be willing to look past any mistakes if the movie was genuinely funny. It wasn’t. The comedy in Get Hard suffers from what I like to call “Do you get it?” syndrome. Get Hard will often set up a premise, such as Kevin Hart recreating a prison yard by portraying 3 different characters at the same time, and then run that premise into the ground essentially asking “Do you get it?” over and over again. there are countless examples of this throughout Get Hard, but I will save you the details. Despite the constant destruction of jokes, Get Hard just isn’t all that funny. I’m not going to lie, I laughed quite a few times but those were either related to the delivery from one of the actors, or just laughing at how absurd the film is. From the very beginning you know where the movie is going, and that takes the surprise out of any jokes that are going to be delivered. Not that the jokes are all that clever, because they are manly anal-related. The story is rather bare-bones and as a movie, it wasn’t that great. This is because the plot of Get Hard essentially takes a left turn at the end to make it as generic as possible. Even though Will Ferrell has been training to go to prison throughout the entire movie, at the end Kevin Hart finally asks him “Are you guilty?” to which Will Ferrell replies “No”. This sparks the final act of the movie wherein the main characters discover that Will Ferrell was framed, who framed him, and they bring him to justice all in about 20 minutes. The movie goes from a few rape jokes loosely tied together to a full-blown buddy cop adventure in less than 30 seconds. One thing I did enjoy about the writing was the sense of permanence that the film gave. It was only small things, but I noticed them. Things like Kevin Hart awkwardly holding a heavy computer while the villain gave his monologue, and the fact that Will Ferrell ends up getting arrested for having an illegal firearm. Small things like that usually aren’t appreciated, but I could tell that someone at least cared a little bit for this movie when writing it.
Despite all of that, there were a few issues that I had with Get Hard that I want to discuss in detail. First off I want to talk about the character of James King, and how he was all over the place throughout the movie. Get Hard starts and we meet James King, he’s an asshole who stretches naked in front of his gardner and he ignores his employees. As a matter of fact, his employees even cheer when he gets arrested. James King is the classic asshole character. Then he gets arrested. Once arrested, James King immediately turns into the dumbest motherfucker you have ever seen. This goes against everything we know about the character, because he’s supposed to be a genius hedge-fund manager or some shit, but now he doesn’t even know his ass from his elbow. He also becomes so nice that literally everyone he meets has to point out: “There’s no way that man is guilty”. His character gets flipped on a dime just to fit the narrative. I understand that character should evolve throughout the course of a movie, but James King was an asshole when it was funny for him to be an asshole, but then he was a complete idiot with a heart of gold when that was funnier. This was infuriating to watch because we essentially had to re-learn what the character was all about (not that it was particularly hard, but it was still annoying). Get Hard also suffers from the “let’s be hip with the kids” problem, which manifests itself as featuring most songs from the top 20 on whichever day the film was edited. These songs do not fit the tone of the film, nor do they fit the narrative. We didn’t need to see James King sing along to “I Love It” on his way to work, because it added nothing to his character. We didn’t need a look at class separation set to an upbeat pop song because not only is the music inappropriate, but the movie is not at all about class separation. Unless you count the fact that Kevin Hart is black. And why the fuck would you count that? Really, Get Hard was just a mess.
To sum things up Get Hard is a movie that doesn’t really have a clear goal. Many of the jokes fall flat and the writing is a mess. To be honest I liked Get Hard more when it was called Big Stan, and that movie stars Rob Schneider.
I give Get Hard a C