checked out the new comedy “Get Hard” starring the two hilarious actors Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart…Here’s what we thought

In the recently released comedy “Get Hard”, there was a period of time where I thought Kevin Hart was untouchable. A comic with ad-libbing talent and fast-paced charm like his is one that hasn’t graced the Hollywood comedy scene in a while, and he’s proven that he can pump life into even the laziest screenplays (Soul Plane, Grudge Match). Pairing Hart up with Will Ferrell, a comedic actor who’s legendary in his own right (Talladega Nights, Anchorman), seems like it would be a match made in Frat Pack heaven, and in a way “Get Hard” is exactly that, in that its dated and offensive humor seems like it came straight out of 2002. “Get Hard” is a comedy that squanders an interesting premise to be sure, but the fact that Hart and Ferrell’s chemistry isn’t enough to veil its generally asinine nature on top of that is the last nail in the coffin. They’re both much better than this.

The premise is similar to many of Ferrell’s other well-known comedies, in that he’s a successful socialite who is screwed out of his comfortable life and has to work his way back to the top. This time, Ferrell plays investment banking big-shot James King, a partner at his firm who is suddenly accused of several counts of tax evasion and fraud and given a month to get his affairs in order before being shipped off to prison. He enlists the help of Kevin Hart as Darnell Lewis, the man who washes his car, to help him “get hard” and school him on prison culture, which King assumes he knows because…of corse he’s Black. Darnell goes along with the plan because King offers him the $30,000 he needs to pay off the mortgage on his house.

That’s the vast majority of the humor that Get Hard has to offer: watching Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart mug their way through lame race and prison rape jokes that would even feel out of place in a Farrelly Brothers movie, but the saddest part is that the first act of the movie hints at more interesting things that never fully develop. It starts off going in the direction of greedy corporate fat cat satire at King’s expense, and there’s a satisfying payoff when his Hispanic house staff takes their own form of revenge, but Hard all but abandons that angle by the time Hart and Ferrell are tossing back 40s while wearing enough camo covered street wear to make Lil’ Wayne blush.

Admittedly, Hart and Ferrell do play off of each other’s comedy stylings quite well, but that just makes me wish that these two were in a better movie, one that doesn’t feel the need to only reach for the lowest hanging fruit it can find (White people are ignorant! Rich people are greedy!) while mincing on the insight and humor that would’ve capitalized on such an A-list pairing.

I have a problem with Kevin Hart slowly transitioning into the role of the helpful Black guy who helps the White protagonist become cooler (looking at you too, Wedding Ringer). I have a problem with acting talents like T.I., Craig T. Nelson, and Allison Brie being thrown into thankless stock character roles. I have a problem with comedies that half-ass their aim toward a balance of vulgarity and insightfulness and amount to being just plain offensive, and unless you’re a huge Hart or Ferrell fan, “Get Hard” is a movie that doesn’t even have the shield of comedic irony to hide behind.