Limp Laughs: A Review of ‘Get Hard’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 28, 2015
Limp Laughs: A Review of ‘Get Hard’

Comedy is always one of the most subjective cinematic art forms and it is never easy to pull off.  While not entirely devoid of laughs, Get Hard is a mostly tired and often offensive movie that goes for shockingly funny and ends up as a dead fish that pretty well everyone involved with this movie should be ashamed of.

James King (Will Ferrell) has it all, a beautiful house, a hot wife (Alison Brie) and the ability to make millions of dollars as easily as you or I breathe oxygen, but he’s about to lose it all.  Convicted of fraud and embezzlement to the tune of tens of millions of dollars and ruining countless investors lives, he gets sentenced to ten years hard time at San Quentin, a maximum security prison.  Insisting his innocence and terrified of what might happen to him while on the inside, he enlists the help of Darnell (Kevin Hart) who assumes went to prison and washes his car where he works in order to get ready for life behind bars.

Get Hard is that rare combo in a movie.  With some rampant moments of racism and homophobia which are just gross to say the least, it for the most part doesn’t even have the decency to be funny about it.

Co-Writer and Director Etan Cohen on his first effort in the director’s chair is just out of his element as this all plays like a gaggy treatment for a comedy that would have been made in 1986.  Taken off of the Adam McKay pile of premises that he didn’t want to tackle himself, the writing is fairly uneven as it leans into some bits a little too much and it will just make you roll your eyes and groan.  The story moves well enough, but half the time Ferrell was one step away from doing Blackface (they even do that joke in the movie) and so much of it plays incredibly weak as it requires us to make some huge logic jumps and except how pathetic his character really is.  Only a small handful of jokes actually land and it is so lazy as it leans on the stereotypes of a variety of ethnic groups and it comes off incredibly lazy.  There’s nothing wrong with pushing boundaries and doing culturally sensitive comedy…but the execution has to be about 1000% better then it was here.  Everything was sloppy.


I’m not entirely sure if Will Ferrell even gave a damn this time out, and may be starting to get into Adam Sandler territory where he is just on auto pilot, doing his shtick as they back a dump truck of money up to his house.  Ferrell has done enough good and interesting work in his life that you can’t in good conscience blame him for this paycheck job, however I think that we can say Kevin Hart’s recent hot streak might officially be over.

Don’t get me wrong, in what was essentially the straight man role, Hart played it well and was likeable and sympathetic when he needed to be but he never got any moments where he genuinely kicked it into over drive and the comedy never quite landed.  Both men’s gift for physical comedy felt like it got somewhat muted this time out and no matter how hard they tried everything just felt tired and lame, the material did them no favors.  Alison Brie was criminally wasted as his super hot fiancée and Craig T Nelson along with Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris just had to fulfill the stereotype and just stand there.

Aside from one genuinely funny bit (props to you John Mayer), Get Hard was a tired mess that just thought that making fun others was enough to be funny.  That isn’t nor will it ever be comedy, more than anything else, it’s just tacky.

This post was written by

David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.