Plot: James (Will Ferrell) is a hedge fund manager with an impressive portfolio, which affords him a lavish lifestyle of wealth, privilege, and luxuries. He is engaged to the beautiful Alissa (Alison Brie), who also happens to be the daughter of James’ boss, which means he is likely to be handed the keys to the corporate kingdom. But he soon finds himself yanked from his plush life thanks to some fraud charges, which thanks to a judge’s desire to make an example of white collar crime, land James in line for a long prison stint. He is innocent, but has no idea how to clear his name and with just a month to get his affairs in order, he knows he needs help to prepare for prison. So he reaches out to the only black person he knows, Darnell (Kevin Hart), who he hopes can give him pointers on how to survive inside. As Darnell has never done time or been involved in crime, he doesn’t have that information, but he does need the cash, so he and James embark on a journey to prepare for prison.
Entertainment Value: I have to mention that Will Ferrell is one of my personal favorite performers, so his presence can often help compensate for less than ideal material, as the case is with Get Hard. The movie is a pretty standard, big studio R rated comedy, but I had a lot of fun with it just because of Ferrell’s performance. He plays his usual naive, awkward role, but I still think he is often hilarious here and plays off Kevin Hart quite well. The narrative is a simple one, but it sets up a lot of opportunities for humor and while stretched a little thin, the movie never feels slow. I found most of the humor to be effective, especially as Ferrell begins to embrace the street culture, but a lot of that is because I love Ferrell’s comic persona. The issue of race is a core element here, but it isn’t explored with real social depth and just used for comedic effect, so don’t expect a sensitive treatise on race relations. Ferrell and Hart make a fun odd couple and play off each other well, but if you don’t appreciate the comedic styles involved, much of the humor will be lost on you. Craig T. Nelson, T.I., Alison Brie, and Greg Germann also have prominent roles here, but this is the Hart & Ferrell show. Get Hard is by no means a comic masterpiece, but if you enjoy the antics of Ferrell and Hart, it offers a brisk, fun bit of entertainment.
This one has a couple bare asses, some topless biker chicks, and a prosthetic penis as part of a gloryhole experience. A lot of humor centers on the prospect of prison rape, but the movie has little sexual content. The movie has some violence, often Ferrell picking fights with random people to test his battle skills, but no real bloodshed or graphic content is featured. One scene does have Ferrell suffer a shank to the skull, which sticks in his head, but it is again played for laughs, not taken seriously. The dialogue relies a lot on the culture shock of Ferrell exploring the social realm outside his previous lifestyle, as well as the racial divide between he and Hart. I think the writing is passable, but Ferrell and Hart are able to elevate it with solid performances. A lot of the humor works, but doesn’t yield wild lines, but some quotable exchanges make it in. I think the cast is why the humor works when it does, instead of the script. The tone gets a little zany at times, but stays rooted in the usual comedy framework. So not much craziness, aside from Ferrell’s manic presence.
Overall Insanity: 0/10