Ferrell And Hart Are The New Wilder And Pryor In “Get Hard.”

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Ferrell Hart Get Hard

Will Farrell is one of the funniest and talented actors to ever grace the Saturday Night Live stage, but I’ve found his big screen output to be a bit of a mixed bag. I laughed a lot at “Talladega Nights: The Story of Ricky Bobby” and his somewhat absurd yet semi-dramatic “Stranger Than Fiction” is one of my favorite movies to recommend. On the other hand, I saw more of the inside of my eyelids when I attempted to sit through “Step-Brothers” and “Semi Pro.” Kevin Hart is a very funny comedian, but the film version of his stand-up routine from last year was marred by poor editing. Could these two hilarious entertainers succeed together? For me, the answer was a resounding yes.
James King (Ferrell) has the perfect life—he’s a wildly successful investments executive who lives in a huge Beverly Hills mansion with his fiancé, who happens to be his boss Martin Barrow’s (Craig P. Nelson) daughter. Everything in his life is going perfectly, until the FBI raids his engagement party right in the middle of an impromptu jam with popular recording artist John Mayer. Sentenced to serve a maximum sentence at San Quintin, which is by no means “Club Fed,” he does the only think he can do—hire the black man who runs the executive car wash service in the basement of his building to teach him how to survive in prison. Darnell Lewis (Hart), of course, has never even had a parking ticket, but he needed $30,000 to secure a house for his family so he agrees to help him, much to his wife’s amusement. For much of the next 30 days before he is officially incarcerated, James is put through the wringer by Darnell and King’s all too eager staff—the gardener, the maid, etc., all the while declaring his innocence. Darnell comes to realize that he may actually be interested and their odd couple relationship takes a turn as they join forces to exonerate him. Did I mention that along the way James joins up with the notorious Crenshaw gang, ran by Darnell’s cousin, Russell (rapper/actor T.I.)? Diversify your portfolios, dawg, foshizzle.
The story isn’t really anything terribly new—madcap comedy romps with diametrically opposed leads has been a Hollywood staple for years. That’s because when it works, it’s a hit. Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Newman and Redford, Matthau and Lemon, Klugman and Randall, Wilder and Pryor, Chan and Tucker—Ferrell and Hart could be on the precipice of becoming another comedy duo that could churn out hit after hit for some time to come. Ferrell and Hart exhibit terrific chemistry. Remember how forced Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen felt together in the Star Wars prequels? No chemistry at all. These two fellows seemed to genuinely enjoy working together.
Living in relative proximity as I do to Ferguson, Missouri, I am keenly aware of the racial tensions in my town and the country at large. It’s interesting that Will Farrell and Kevin Hart would join writer and director Ethan Cohen to create this sort of movie now, where racial stereotypes are plentiful and the jokes are often made at the other race’s expense. If you’re the sensitive type who can tolerate the use of racial slurs, ethnic stereotypes, profanity, etc., this probably won't be something you'll enjoy. If you don't take things quite so seriously, (i.e. your aren't the Stephen A. Smith of cinema) and can laugh at your own race as much as anyone else, and understand that they used these jokes and slurs to set up the theme of understanding and acceptance of cultures not your own, you'll have a very good time watching "Get Hard." Judging by some of the early reviews I’ve seen, it appears a lot of critics aren’t color blind enough to see that the racial jabs are overcome and that a friendship between two people of different race and social classes is possible. It’s a shame people are too eager to be offended these days to get that message. Leave your mental baggage in the car—with your cellphones—and give it a try.

4.0 / 5.0