The thought of spending hard time in prison has the ability to frighten even the bravest people who don’t seem like the type that would frighten easily. That’s a place where anything goes, and forces you to answer a great deal of questions about yourself. For some, fighting through that is something that they have the ability to do before they head in, but for others, there’s a definite need to get hard before they are placed in an environment with the watchful eyes of guards and dangerous criminals following them at all times.
After being charged and convicted of tax evasion, James King (Will Ferrell) is about to be put in that kind of position when he has to head over to San Quentin in order to serve out a sentence of ten years in prison. That’s a tough thing for anyone to be asked to handle, but it’s even more difficult for a man who appears to have it all. From his luxurious mansion, to his millions of dollars, and the most beautiful fiancee (Alison Brie) that he could ask for, all of it will be taken away when he has to report to prison to serve his lengthy sentence.
As far as he’s concerned, there’s no other way around it, so he needs to get himself prepared for jail and all of the dangers that will be presented to him while he’s there. In order to pull that off, James comes up with the bright idea to hire someone who’s served time locked behind bars. The first person that he asks is Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart), the owner of a small time car wash company who hasn’t actually ever been locked up at any point in time in his life.
The average person would correct someone who mistakenly thinks that they’ve spent time behind penitentiary bars, but Darnell is in a bit of financial trouble. Instead of appropriately correcting the wealthy businessman’s error, Darnell decides to accept the generous financial offer and keep his completely spotless record to himself. Before teaching James how to get tough for life in the institution, all Darnell has to do is learn what that life is all about for himself.
While I wish it offered more intellectually in the form of a meaningful story, Get Hard does provide legitimate entertainment. That’s primarily due to the comedy that’s being executed by Farrell and Hart. Watching these two just throw out a bunch of stuff during each segment of the film is great and saves the movie from being thoroughly useless. They make an unlikely duo, but their actually is some viable chemistry between the two.
You’ll find that to be decidedly crucial if and when you see it for yourself, because Get Hard is a movie with any semblance of a genuine real story in sight. It’s nothing more than two guys making jokes throughout the vast majority of it. The film gives us something to get everything moving, but it quickly turns into the two main characters finding themselves in odd situations while one is trying to teach the other how to survive in a place that neither has ever been to.
Much of what is included in Get Hard utilizes race and the fear of being sexually violated in prison as a primary source of material. For some, this stuff will be deemed as offensive, but it’s job here is too simply make you laugh. In that sense, it harkens back to the days where not offending people wasn’t as important as it is now in the world of entertainment only a decade or so later.
I don’t see this as being racist toward Black people or really having anything against homosexuals. I do however see it as being racial and addressing the fears that many men would have if they found themselves looking at getting hard time in a setting that’s conducive to violence from men willing to cross the line without the permission of their targets.
If they wanted to do so, the creators could have put more thought into it and turned it into a feature that included some kind social/political commentary. That would have been understandable, but I’m perfectly fine with the fact that they chose not to. The reason for me feeling that way is due to the fact that so many filmmakers seem to want to use their films to preach about something. It’s okay to do that sometimes, but there also comes a time when you just want to enjoy a flick without anything extra.
Director: Etan Cohen
Craig T. Nelson
Film Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: March 27, 2015
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures