Don’t get overly excited by this comparison, but remember when Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor could get a movie made around them just because of their chemistry? That’s what Get Hard is relying on, with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart spending the film bouncing off one another and, well, that’s basically it.
The sense that this is a bit of a throwback to an often more threadbare comedy era is bolstered by a pronounced lack of character arcs. It’s actually a bit refreshing that no lessons are learned, and no personal improvement is truly embarked upon, as is the general absence of meta or satirical humour.
Thing is, this leaves a gap that should be filled with gags. They’re in seriously short supply here, at least when it comes to effectiveness. Get Hard did elicit laughs from me – well, chuckles – but the vast majority came from Will Ferrell doing funny Will Ferrell stuff or Kevin Hart doing funny Kevin Hart stuff, as opposed to the film’s script or scenarios.
What could have been an edgily racial pairing a la 48 Hours in the ’80s still plays to ethnic stereotypes, but in neutered fashion, making it hard to tell what’s more offensive – genuine racial prejudice, or it being softly played for laughs. Then there are the repeated gags about prison rape, which hit a largely bum note.
That’s not to say I’m a killjoy. Landing this material would’ve kept me a happy camper, albeit one with the internal guilt of a bleeding heart liberal. Get Hard sadly just comes up short in the gag department, and with that being the only thing going for it, can’t really be recommended.
‘Get Hard’ Movie Times