Most people know by now know how I feel about Kevin Hart films. Thus far I have not enjoyed any of his films. I’ve never seen any of his standup, but despite me not enjoying those movies the one thing that is always constant is Hart always looks like he is trying hard. So, in the that regard I can respect the comedian for his valiant effort. Perhaps it’s the writers of the films rather than him himself making the poor decisions.
Regardless of how I felt about “Ride Along” and “The Wedding Ringer”, I did see “Get Hard” as having enormous amounts of potential. I am a fan of Will Ferrell and the both of them seemed to have very solid chemistry of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I found their lip sync battle largely entertaining (plus director Etan Cohen has some pretty solid writing credits behind him). Still “Get Hard” fails to deliver, but doesn’t miss it’s mark too much. “Get Hard” does provide some chuckles and decent moments from our stars, but the laughs are too inconsistent and won’t make you laugh hard enough to make you ever want to come back to revisit it or buy. At its best, “Get Hard” is a solid cable movie.
After getting nailed for fraud, Millionaire James King (Will Ferrell) is 30 days from being sent from prison. Mistaking one of his employees for a man that got sent to jail, Darnell (played by Kevin Hart) plays off this mistake to help King get ready for jail in exchange for 30,000 dollars so he can buy a new house for his family.
The premise is simple enough to build the comedy around. Even though we have to go through the unavoidable liar revealed storyline; where eventually the character who is lying gets caught, (there are broken feelings and that character has to redeem himself). It’s annoying and tedious but it’s more or less painless this time around because the majority of the film’s narrative doesn’t hinge on that one overused plot device. Kevin Hart’s character for the most part in this story is the straight man to Ferrell’s bumbling over privileged idiot (even though Hart has plenty of moments where he completely goes off the deep end and acts crazy and nuts).
The two together are a solid pairing. Both show off their comedic strengths and Hart is mostly restrained when compared to his previous filmography . His character is likeable and given a few funny lines that bounce off of Ferrell. Ferrell surprisingly enough was a weaker link for me. As the story progresses ,and his character progresses he does become increasingly more funny, but towards the beginning of the film his character was in a sense too dumb. This obviously isn’t the first time he has played a dumb character but it’s all about when and how it’s executed . His oblivious nature has to work within context of the story. In “Anchorman” and “Anchorman 2”, Ron Burgundy is a character within an almost hyper reality. So, in that sense the character’s sheer stupidity works. “Talladega Nights” works because Rickey Bobby is a satire on the southern red neck Nascar lover, so his character works well within the context. Here, he is just a oblivious rich guy who isn’t very smart. His nature doesn’t work within the film’s context so in the first half or so of the movie the writers (and Will Ferrell) create a character too dumb within the framing of the film. This isn’t a satire nor is this a live action cartoon; in that sense the character that Ferrell plays doesn’t really work as well. Am I over analyzing? I don’t believe I am when I validate a character like Ricky Bobby.
The problem with “Get Hard” is the movie just isn’t funny enough. There are a couple decent laughs but there are a lot more chuckles then laughter. You won’t be busting your gut with popcorn flying out in utter hilarity, instead you’ll be smile and nod at a few jokes. The movie never hits it home with a lot of big gags (that are needed to make a comedy memorable or worth watching). The filmmakers lay down a few solid bunts and a couple base hits with their jokes but never go the extra mild. The raunchy humor is played relativity safe and generic.
Had this movie been on cable or rented from Netflix, or Redbox then this is a pretty safe and solid enjoyable time. If I was doing some chores around the house and this was on, then it’s good background noise. Going all out to the movies though sort of makes it fall a bit more flat (depending on the venue you view it on). Enjoyable enough to watch (and won’t have you wanting to blow your brains out) but not fun enough to revisit it anytime soon.