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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Get Hard

March 24th, 2015 by Conor ONeill Comments


Get Hard (15)
Running time: 100 min
Directed by: Etan Cohen
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart & Alison Brie

Want a show that makes you giggle, and makes you laugh out loud-ish? Then Get Hard is not a waste of a ticket. There’s laughs all along and that, I suppose, is the simple quest of comedy. Want a  comedy that doesn’t rely on stereotypical race lines and lies? Then Get Stuffed is probably a better name for this film if modern day and universal truths are to be rested upon.

Here’s the scenario: just like the A-Team, an ‘innocent’ stockbroker, ahem oxymoron, is under arrest and threatened with ten years in the Big House due to embezzlement. Of course he fights his legal case, yes he tries to defend and debunk all accusations thrown at him, but what he fears most… is jail. More importantly, getting raped in jail. So, our well-healed protagonist, James King (Ferrell) spies a black man attending a car-wash and assumes by colour of skin, that he can teach him to stay outta trouble when in the clink. And so begins 30 days of training from the no-so-streetwise, money hungry brother Darnell (Hart), who is as far from a gangster as a Welsh town’s reassembled anagram of the directions to the changing room.

There are some good lines and scenes, but with a character you have to connect to. And I didn’t connect with King or Darnell. Ferrell’s comedy comes from being rich, important and, critically, KKK material, with a credit-card-crushing wifey, he has, in his eye,s a hard life. Hart’s character comes from being an educated black man playing a game with a stupid white man and in the meantime often exacerbates the underlining racial stereotypes of this movie.

The plot does however run fast. As mentioned before, there’s a sense of PC free fun about this and some interesting scenes. Getting to know the phallus, introduction to the real gangstas, rejected with some funny lines, meeting with a biker gang, also rejected. All he needs is protection from dropping the soap in the prison shower. And that basically is the plot to this movie.

Ferrell and Hart can be forgiven, every actor comes a cropper every now and again, especially in comedy, but what’s a double term in Purgatory is director Etan Cohen’s mishandling of what could have been a decent movie. Laugh as I did, I came out of the film theatre with a nasty sulphur taste climbing my throat. Cohen, of Beavis and Butthead, American Dad and Men In Black 3 writing fame should’ve picked up this neanderthal script and ripped, kicked and burnt it. But he didn’t. He stuck to a comedic idea of where race issues are today. The U.S of A with the highest rate of incarceration per person, most of them Black and Hispanic males, will identify with this movie. And it laughs at itself; liberals will most undoubtedly despise this film, the racist homophobe will love it.

What paper do you read?  The Guardian, The Sun? I read both, best to know the enemy… which leaves me sitting, procrastinating on the fence. Is this a good comedy, a twisted reliance on cheap gags or a comedic slant on assumed racism?
Watch it, laugh, and then you decide.

3 out of 5 Nerds


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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.

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