Monday, April 27, 2015

Get Hard

Get Hard - 100 min - R

I'm lukewarm on Will Ferrell's work. His brand of comedy doesn't always match my taste. I was really drawn to it because of Kevin Hart. He is a rising star and his humor has intrigued me. Their collaboration seems to work but the movie had a mix of cringe worthy and full belly laugh moments. More cringe than I care for really. It also had a homophobic vibe. For these reasons I am giving it a yellow light. Will Ferrell fans will like it, I was on the "meh" side.

James (Will Ferrell) is a big shot hedge fund manager who is convicted of fraud. He has a big house and a very expensive fiancee, Alissa (Alison Brie). He knows in 30 days he is going to be serving hard time for 10 years. The only Black person he knows is Darnell (Kevin Hart), the guy who washes his car. Assuming because Darnell is Black, he has spent time in prison, James hires Darnell to teach him how to survive in prison.

The major theme of the story is James not wanting to go to jail. As a character he confuses me. He’s a brilliant trader and can see the trends and makes money hand over fist. I imagine in that work he can link things together. So he completely trusting his father in-law and not suspecting him seems disingenuous. However Will Ferrell plays the completely clueless person so very well that perhaps that is what they were going for.

It was funny watching Darnell abuse James. In his attempt to get James ready for prison, they try and toughen him up. He goes to parks and picks fights with people and tries to physically work out. Nothing seems to work, So Darnell has to level with James. He is going to have to learn to become a bitch. So they go to a gay pick-up spot and because he is faced with his biggest fear, a homosexual act, he find a new motivation to become ready and work harder and becoming... wait for it… harder, pun intended because that’s what the biggest continuous joke is in the movie.

There was a lot of time spent getting him ready for prison and only in the last section of the last act do they think to try and prove his innocence. It really feels like an afterthought on how to tie up the story. It would have been better to have more balance in all of the story lines. One of the biggest things I appreciate in a film is the growth of a character. James does go through a change and walks away from the film with a new point of view.

Darnell is a little under developed. His motivation is to get enough money to get his daughter into a better school district. I totally understand that and as a father I can sympathize with his motivation. He plays along with James to get what he wants but there is nothing that he walks away with no lesson learned.

Kevin Hart can take on more as an actor. This role was a little under his skill level. I saw one of his stand-ups and he is incredible. I guess what kept this movie from a red light were his parts. I think he has the ability to carry the right project.

Do you have a favorite performer who you think is ready to take the next step?

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