Get Hard

Movie Information

The Story: After being framed for fraud, a millionaire hires the guy who washes his car to teach him how to survive prison. The Lowdown: A puerile mix of lazy, tasteless prison rape jokes, homophobia and occasional fits of casual racism, but with the added benefit of Will Ferrell mugging.
Genre: Comedy
Director: Etan Cohen
Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Craig T. Nelson, Alison Brie, T.I.
Rated: R

Get Hard Movie (1)


The zenith of Etan Cohen’s Get Hard is its title. You see, it has two meanings. The first describes the basic plot of the film, as millionaire James King (Will Ferrell) — who’s been framed for fraud and faces a decade in prison — hires Darnell (Kevin Hart), a clean-cut car washer, to teach him how to survive being locked up. Therefore, the pampered James literally wants to “harden” himself to prison life. The second meaning is acquiring an erection, a fact that the film tries to squeeze laughs out of (so to speak) on two different occasions. Preston Sturges this is not, obviously, but this kind of wordplay — the fact that it’s wordplay at all — and dual meaning is the height of Get Hard. That’s its peak, so you can imagine the level where the rest of it falls.




The bulk of the movie is little more than an odd-couple/buddy sort of thing, where the clueless James and the kindhearted Darnell grow and become friends or whatever. It’s really just a platform for Ferrell to mug for the camera once more, while the rest of the cast makes prison rape jokes and wallows in fits of homophobia and casual racism. A lot has been made in some circles of the rape jokes and their undertone of gay panic, and it’s all there. It’s as offensive as it sounds, but it’s also an incredibly lazy way to try and pry a laugh out of an audience. It’s the most obvious kind of humor imaginable. I remember kids in my middle school making the same stupid jokes. This is a Will Ferrell movie, after all (it’s Hart’s stage to a much lesser extent) — no one’s expecting tact here, and it’s the same damn schtick he’s been trotting out for two decades now. But it’s still enough to get him work, so insert the P.T. Barnum quote of your choice here.




Hart fares a little better, though it’s no thanks to the material — simply due to him not being Will Ferrell. (Funny observation: Ferrell and Hart made $7 million less their opening weekend than Hart and Ice Cube in last year’s Ride Along). I’ve had a complicated relationship with Hart (i.e., he’s been in a bunch of crap I’ve had to watch, but he’s been likable in a couple things and that makes me hopeful), but Get Hard does him no favors. These are Adam Sandler levels of ugly, complete with the stunted sexuality and ethnic caricatures. No one gets out alive. It’s ugly and grotesque and chintzy and one of those examples of everything that’s wrong with American comedies. But there’s such a long list of those out there — including ones starring Hart and Farrell — that it’s just another drop in the bucket. Get Hard isn’t even awful enough to be memorable, it’s merely awful. Rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content and language, some graphic nudity and drug material.



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31 thoughts on “Get Hard

  1. T.rex

    My worlds are colliding. I hate racism and homophobia but I’m a fan of Will Ferrel. What to do? Wait for the brew I guess. Is this “worst of the year list” material?

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      My worlds are colliding. I hate racism and homophobia but I’m a fan of Will Ferrel. What to do? Wait for the brew I guess.

      I often like Ferrell, but he’s awful here.

      Is this “worst of the year list” material?


      • Ken Hanke

        Except for Stranger Than Fiction and to a much lesser extent Everything Must Go and Melinda and Melinda, I rate Will Ferrell very high on the list of performers whose work has provided me with more unpleasant moviegoing experiences than not. I actually think I hate his movies more than those of Adam Sandler. Awful as Sandler is, he doesn’t spend every single one of his personality vehicles screaming, “Hey, look I’m funny. Okay I’m being funny now! Look at me! Look at me!” And he’s even higher on my list for being in Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.

        • T.rex

          Hold that Adam Sandler comment, PIXELS hasn’t come out yet. Now that looks awful.

          • Ken Hanke

            Step Brothers, Land of the Lost, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Kicking & Screaming, Old School…these will be hard to top for stupidity and obnoxiousness.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            I am exercising my right not to watch its trailer.

          • T.rex

            Don’t dis Mr Burgundy now. “Stay Classy Asheville” I’m not sure if you saw the sequel to Anchorman but along side it’s man-boy humor it did have a great punch to news media. No, not NETWORK or A FACE IN THE CROWD levels but still pretty good.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Yeah, but you have to wade through a ton of dud jokes to get there…so did it really happen? The only gag I liked was when Kristen Wiig made her candy snake face – which they cut from the R-rated version!

          • Ken Hanke

            I “dissed” Mr. Burgundy when the first one came out and I carefully avoided the second one.

        • Edwin Arnaudin

          I suspect my general OK-ness with Ferrell is another example of The Fresh Prince Factor, in which fondness for an actor’s TV work translates to fondness for his or her movie work. Part of that formula, however, is a rapid decline and just as Mr. Smith’s likability has tanked in recent years, so is Mr. Ferrell’s.

          • Ken Hanke

            As you may suspect I have never seen The Fresh Prince. I’m not sure my fondness for an actor on TV — esp. series TV — has ever carried over to movies. If what Ferrell does can be called acting most of the time.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            I think Casa de mi Padre is fun and that he and Wahlberg made a good team in The Other Guys. Actually, I like most of his pre-Anchorman work. He makes a good Bob Woodward, too.

  2. Xanadon't

    I count Elf among Will Farrell movies that I can tolerate, bringing my total up to at least 4. I can’t think of any Sandler films not directed by P.T. Anderson that I’d ever willingly sit through again.

    I have to admit that the “sad dogging you” line in the trailer for Get Hard gave me a chuckle. I’m content to assume there’s no further entertainment waiting for me.

    • Ken Hanke

      I deliberately left Elf out because I haven’t seen it since it was new. I gave it a good review at the time, but threw in the qualifying, “I still find Ferrell too obvious, too manic and just too full of Will Ferrell to be wholly palatable.” I’m actually reluctant to revisit it, but not so much because of Will Ferrell.

  3. DrSerizawa

    I hope that Craig T Nelson wasn’t planning on jump starting his career with this. And I guess that Alison Brie will be staying in TV as well.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      I thought he was great on Parenthood.

      Guess you didn’t hear that Coach is being resurrected?

        • Ken Hanke

          Hell, I don’t even know what Coach is. And I have too much sense to ever see a TV series based on a Ron Howard movie.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Other than Howard being an executive producer, they pretty much only have the title in common.

  4. Me

    Coach was one of those shows that was just always on during my formative years, I still think Jerry Van Dyke was hilarious though.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      One of my good friend’s last name is Dobberfuhl and his family is from Wisconsin (close enough), so Dauber felt like an honorary cousin of theirs.

  5. T.rex

    You guys were so right about this one. Worst movie this year so far. Wow, was it terrible.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      Just had to find out for yourself, huh?

      I think Unfriended and Welcome to Me are worse.

      • T.rex

        I could not sleep and wanted a comedy. My cable is new and wanted to check out the On Demand. Wasted six bucks, oops.

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