Will Ferrell always has been a kind of hit-and-miss comedian, and Kevin Hart has yet to impress me himself. Having said that, I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that both talents are totally wasted in the racist, homophobic, tired, unfunny slog “Get Hard.”
Ferrell stars as James, a fund manager who is mistakenly accused of fraud and embezzlement at his company and is expected to serve 10 years in federal prison. Thirty days before he goes to prison, he tries to get some expert advice from his car washer, Darnell (Hart). The twist is that Darnell has never been to prison, but James just automatically assumes he has because Darnell lives in a crime-ridden neighborhood.
Darnell puts James through an extensive series of tests in order to make sure that he’s ready what awaits him. Some of the training involves what to do during a prison riot, and other aspects involve teaching Ferrell how to employ his “mad-dog face.”
Sadly, none of this is really funny, but the two actors do get to interact in a little trash-talking, which does produce a couple of hugely unexpected quips.
Ferrell and Hart are successful comic performers, but they have no chance to shine. Instead of getting a chance to be witty and clever, the movie is dumbed down to clichéd plot elements and recycled jokes that instantly become stale. Plus, it’s also very racially offensive and stereotypically ridiculous at every corner.
The film’s ending has a climax that is contrived, pretentious and looks like something out of a buddy-cop movie. “Get Hard” feels so forced that I was expecting the film to pull back to reveal real prisoners holding the cast hostage.
(Rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug material.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in south Georgia.