With the returns for its opening weekend tallied up Warner Brothers can let out a big sigh of relief. The Ferrell/Hart team up brought in a respectable 34 million dollars coming in 2nd place to Dreamworks Home at the box office. When you take into account that both actors had previously planted their movie comedy flags firmly in PG-13 territory pairing them together for a movie that effortlessly earns a hard R rating was a pretty risky endeavor, but fortunately for us it was a risk they decided to take and we reaped the rewards with a very funny movie…well mostly.
Get Hard centers on Will Ferrell’s character James King, a millionaire investment broker who is on the verge of having all his of 1% dreams come true. He’s engaged to super hottie socialite Alissa played by Alison Brie and her father Martin played by Craig T. Nelson is the head of the investment firm he works at and tells King that all his hard work has paid off and he’s made partner. King is oblivious to the well-being or dignity of his servant staff at home or the underlings who shamelessly lick his boots at work and as a result the idea that everyone hates him is totally nonexistent.
It’s a blissful life of privileged ignorance until the FBI shows up at his engagement party and arrests him for investment fraud. Instead of taking the year in jail slap on the wrists that his father’s lawyer recommends, King being convinced of his innocence mistakenly puts his faith in a legal system that’s more than eager to crucify a member of the super-rich and is sentenced to the ten year maximum for his alleged crime. In doing so the judge gives King thirty days to get his affairs in order before he’s taken to prison.
Faced with the prospect of getting sexually violated for a decade in prison King offers to pay the manager of his office building car detaile, Darnell Lewis played by Kevin Hart to toughen him up and prepare him for prison life. Contrary to Kings profiling though, Darnell has never been to prison or even been arrested but accepts Kings offer with the thought of using the money to buy his family a home in a low crime area and expand his car detail business. And so with 30 days until King goes to jail prison school is in session.
Here’s a big shock, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart dominate this movie. Its secondary characters have almost nothing to do but the chemistry between the leads is more than good enough to cover this up. Other than a humorous intro to Alison Brie’s character in the very beginning of the movie and T.I.’s over eager performance in the middle just about all the humor in this movie happens when either Hart or Ferrell are on screen which is a great thing considering that either one or both of them are on screen for the majority of the film.
In Get Hard Ferrell and Hart are basically pulling their performances from other characters in their previous films. Ferrell is the naïve yet talented clueless simpleton that you’ve laughed at in movies like Talladega Nights and Anchorman while Hart is the loud and overreacting sidekick you’ve seen in the likes of Ride Along and the Think Like a Man films. And it totally works. There were no extended periods of time where I wasnt laughing at something happening or what someone said on screen which for an hour and forty minute run time is a massive accomplishment.
All that being said I will address the one glaring negative in this film. The homophobia here registers in at about a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. Yes, this movie is about someone who does NOT want to go to prison and get raped so to think that the low hanging “Gay Panic” humor would not be here is stupid but a significant portion of the jokes in this movie center around either the fear of dicks or the emasculating consequences of encountering them.
I saw this movie on a Saturday afternoon matinee in a theater that was about three quarters full and from watching the responses of the people around me no one seemed to have a problem with it but IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE to repeated expressions of homophobia then this movie is DEFINITELY NOT FOR YOU. Setting that aside was not too difficult for me but I don’t think there is any way you could watch this movie objectively and not leave the theater noticing it. If you don’t have a problem setting that aside either then you are in for a movie that delivers almost non-stop laughs from start to finish.