“Get Hard” follows James King (Will Ferrell), an extremely wealthy hedge fund manager who is engaged to his gold-digging fiancée Alissa (Alison Brie). During their engagement party, James is arrested by cops for fraud and embezzlement, before behind found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to ten years at a high security prison.
With only 30 days to get his affairs in order, James enlists car washer Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) to teach him how to toughen up, after mistakenly jumping to the conclusion that Darnell has previously been incarcerated. The premise certainly ticks all the right boxes for your standard tongue in cheek comedy, though fails to ever fulfil its true potential.
After a fairly promising opening 20 minutes (courtesy of Alison Brie’s hilarious sexual energy), Get Hard settles into a series of uneven set pieces full of forced and repetitive jokes. The humour (if you can call it that) is largely centred on racism, homophobia and over-the-top stereotypes, which become more and more uncomfortable to watch as the film progresses.
While the film manages to generate the occasional, derogative laugh, it’s hugely underwhelming on the whole and is borderline offensive. In the film’s most controversial scene, Darnell takes James to a bar renowned for its gay hook-ups to teach James the horrors of man-to-man fellatio. While it’s purposely uncomfortable to watch, it’s also a cheap tactic.
In terms of the film’s main stars, there’s a good chemistry between Ferrell and Hart, although it’s the latter that emerges as the better of the two. Hart’s character is a lot more likeable and he gives the film’s best performance during a well-choreographed scene in which he flawlessly switches between three prison personas. On the flipside, Ferrell remains firmly within his comfort zone, with an over reliance on the same old gags and techniques that we’ve seen countless times before.