Just when you thought Will Ferrell couldn’t get any funnier, he features in the latest comedy to hit the big screen, with Etan Cohen’s directorial debut, Get Hard. Despite the hilariously ambiguous title, this film is not what you think it is. Playing a high-flying successful business man, James King (Will Ferrell) runs out of luck and is framed for fraud. He’s given 30 days to sort his affairs out before facing a stretch in San Quentin prison.
James decides he needs to “Get Hard” to face all the troubles he will come across in prison and that’s where Darnell (Kevin Hart) comes onto the scene. Hart plays a small business owner who sees James as a role model, that is until he notices how unbelievably ignorant he is to the rest of the world.
From the start it’s clear there’s a wealth divide between the two, even though it’s hilariously portrayed, the film was criticised for it along with some marginally racist stereotypes.
In an interview with the BBC, Ferrell defends the criticism with a completely realistic response: “All we’re doing as comedians is holding up a mirror to things that actually exist out there.”
The film shows James in his mansion with his wife and servants, while Darnell struggles to get enough money to get his daughter to a school where she doesn’t have to have a metal detector search before she goes through the door. Both these things are prevalent in American society, therefore arguable it’s just a fair representation of something that already exists.
Having watched Get Hard, I’d agree that the gags in the film surrounding poverty, race, sexuality and wealth have to be taken with a pinch of salt, but there’s nothing in it that isn’t in the real world, which is refreshing to see.
After being stereotyped by James, Darnell surmises to the label James put upon him, and consequently pretends he’s been in prison (even though he hasn’t got so much as a parking ticket) and experienced all the violence and sexual assault James is so afraid of that he thinks will happen if he ends up inside.
It’s the same the other way too, the film portrays the bankers of Wall Street as ignorant to real life, and when Darnell asks James for a small investment into his car-washing business, James lectures him on how he needs to work hard to be successful, however the business he works for was set up with an $8m loan. (Hypocrisy, much?)
Hart addressed the issue in the same interview, saying “[…]you’re looking at two guys who took a glance at each other and automatically assumed what that person is about.”
It’s true and we’re all guilty. The best thing about this film is that even the title is funny, if that’s got you giggling before you’ve even seen the film, you know you’re going to have a right old laugh.
Like every good movie, there is a moral to the story, and it’s the good old cliché of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Once the characters really got to know each other, each learnt something about the other, and in the end it was all good in the Get Hard hood.
Underlying the arguably homophobic, racist and political satire, there is a strong message that this does exist in society, and if we all opened our eyes a little bit it wouldn’t be so bad after all.
As a first directorial hit, Ethan Cohen really struck gold with this one, having written Men In Black 3 and Tropic Thunder the guy is no stranger to comedy. Will Ferrall also co-produced the film, so it was always going to be a belly laughing hit from the get go. I think the satire in this film is perfect, anymore and it could have been offensive.
This is exactly the type of film you’d expect from Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, it’s one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen for a while, and it’s entertaining from beginning to end, it will make you cry with laughter.
Dir: Etan Cohen
Scr: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Etan Cohen
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Craig T. Nelson, Alison Brie, T.I.
Prd: Will Ferrell, Chris Henchy, Adam McKay
DOP: Tim Suhrestedt
Music: Christophe Beck
Run time: 100 mins
Get Hard is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.