Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, teamed up for the new comedy Get Hard. The plot could easily be plucked from a film out of the 1980’s – businessman James King (Will Ferrell) is living the luxury life in a mansion with his fiancé Alissa (Alison Brie). At James’ engagement party, that includes a duet with John Mayer, he’s arrested for embezzlement. After passing on a plea deal for one year, James is sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin State Prison and given 30 days to get his affairs in order.
In an attempt to survive prison, James hires Darnell (Kevin Hart), the buildings car washer who he mistakenly assumes went to prison, to help prepare for his 10 year bid. Darnell has never been to prison but charges James $30,000 for his services – the same amount Darnell needs for a down payment on a new home. Darnell fakes his “prison training” by using every prison cliché imaginable. For the next 30 days Darnell helps James get groomed for prison in the most ridiculous ways possible.
Get Hard feels like a movie that would’ve been much bigger in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Even with the two mega-stars, the film can’t escape the familiar tunes of buddy comedies from the past. It’s almost impossible for the film to avoid that lingering shadow. It’s not that the film borrows from other movies, it’s that most ‘Buddy Comedies’ feel like the same movie. What the film does best is use Ferrell as the”straight man” and Hart as the “character guy”. Ferrell’s straight act reminds me of his role in 2010’s Other Guys while Kevin Hart gets to be Kevin Hart. Both actors are in their wheelhouse playing these roles and it raises some jokes from ‘just ok’ to ‘hilarious’.
It shouldn’t be a shocker that Hart and Ferrell are so good together. Both are veterans in the comedy game. Even though Ferrell made his bones doing sketch comedy and primarily Hart through stand up, they both found a way to make successful comedies in a business than churns out unfunny movies constantly. Watching them both skillfully bounce jokes off each other is a reminder that there’s a difference between someone who can tell a joke and someone show’s a professional comedian. They’re both comedy titans for a reason.
Since the film is Rated R a lot of the gags are left out of the trailer. There are plenty of NSFW jokes that will keep audiences chuckling like Darnell taking James to a popular gay brunch spot to get him prepared for prison or Darnell and James’ visit to Darnell’s criminal cousin Russell (TI) and his gang.
There aren’t a bunch of side splitting laughs or hysterical scenes. But there is a steady barrage of jokes, physical comedy, and ridiculousness that will keep you entertained for 100 minutes. One shocking surprise was the use of pop music from 2013-2014. It may not seem like a big deal, but the music in Get Hart will make the film feel very dated in a few years.
With the resurgence of R Rated comedies this decade, Get Hard makes a good effort to keep the genre moving forward. Ferrell and Hart teaming up isn’t exactly Lebron James and Dwyane Wade joining forces in Miami, and it isn’t Mayweather and Pacquiao fighting 5 years too late. Their comedy duet is somewhere in between – hilarious at times, but not the homerun everyone was expecting.