Will Ferrell's recent efforts in the comedy bracket haven't exactly gone down well with the general public. Anchorman 2 was a far weaker sequel than anyone could have expected. Likewise, the little-seen Spoils of Babylon was an interesting if ill-defined comedy spoof. The Lego Movie is the only blip in an otherwise downward trend for Ferrell.
he premise of Get Hard is essentially a rehashing of comedy classic Trading Places. Ferrell is James King, a somewhat naive financial broker who's amassed a great fortune, a huge house and a beautiful fiance in the form of Community's Alison Brie. When he's arrested for some kind of financial irregularities, he's coerced by his father-in-law (Craig T. Nelson) to take the deal offered and serve a few measly months in jail. However, he believes he's innocent and goes to trial. As you'd expect, the trial doesn't go his way and he's facing ten years in jail. In order to prepare himself for the hardships in jail, he hires car-wash owner Darnell (Kevin Hart) to acclimatise him. The catch is is that Darnell's never been in jail and never even had so much as a parking ticket.
t's not so much that Get Hard is painfully unfunny, it's that it's horribly offensive while it's being unfunny. There's an extended sequence whereby Darnell convinces James that the only way he'll survive in jail is to get at fellatio. In order to do so, he brings him to a gay restaurant. It's bad enough that they're making rape jokes, but the scene drags on for several agonising minutes with no pay-off. Likewise, there's another scene where they simulate life in the prison yard. Again, this goes on way longer than it needs to and just doesn't work.
ou get the sense that both Hart and Ferrell are improvising most of their scenes. That's fine. The problem is that there needs to be very judicious editing in order to get the nuggets of gold from these long improv sessions. Instead, director Etan Cohen has left them all in and hoped for the best. It's a rookie mistake and Cohen is very much that - a rookie director. Alison Brie is deployed as the spoilt rich girl who's frequently seen in either skimpy clothes or lingerie and isn't utilised in any other way than to be eye-candy. Considering how funny she can be in Community, there's a missed opportunity here.
ikewise, Craig T. Nelson has great comedy timing and he's simply a one-dimensional villain. Ferrell and Hart are capable of being very, very funny. Instead, they're both lumped into stereotypical roles that are bizarre and borderline-racist. There was real hope for Get Hard. Trading Places is one of the best comedies of the last thirty years, so to see a modern retelling of sorts definitely had our interest. Instead, it's a lazy, poorly-made, deeply unfunny film.
void, avoid. avoid.
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