It’s not hard to get laughs out of this satirical male-buddy comedy about two unlikely characters that strike an unusual and potentially life-changing deal. Kevin Hart’s latest film “Get Hard” begins when Will Ferrell’s character, James, a ridiculously wealthy and entitled hedge fund manager is indicted for fraud. Given 30 days to get his affairs in order before a stretch in San Quentin, he asks his car detailer Darnell (Hart), who he assumes has been in jail because he’s black, to help him prepare for a life behind bars. A struggling but focused entrepreneur, Darnell has never been to jail, but rises to the occasion, as the $30,000 incentive would help his ailing business. Together, the two men do whatever it takes for James to “get hard” and, in the process, discover how wrong they were about a lot of things – including each other.
KEVIN HART and WILL FERRELL Photo by Patti Perret
(L-R) TIP T.I HARRIS as Russell and KEVIN HART as Darnell in GET HARD Photo by Patti Perret
“The movie deals with stereotypes in a funny, clever way and we make fun of all of them,” says Hart. “It helps to draw attention to the stupidity. We’re saying, hey, in this day and decade, we should all be on the same playing field and treat each other accordingly.” Both Hart and Ferrell make a fine, unlikely team, seeming to enjoy each other’s company even when saying the craziest of things. That comic energy also defines their onscreen partnership as a couple of guys woefully mismatched in every possible way starting with the height disparity that comes in handy when James has to use Darnell as a human barbell. They are poles apart on everything from their worldviews, to their taste in music.
(L-R) EDWINA FINDLEY as Rita and KEVIN HART as Darnell in Get Hard Photo by Patti Perret
There’s plenty of jokey sadism, which involves tossing every imaginable racial epithet as Darnell takes James through a crash course in jail preparation. He turns James’ palatial digs into something resembling a maximum security prison, complete with floodlights and barbed wire, his tennis court is turned into a prison yard and he is put through a lot of physical tests to toughen up. There are several hilarious scenes including one where Darnell goes crazy, representing different groups that James might encounter in the prison yard. Joining Ferrell and Hart as they try to whip James into shape for his jail stint, are T.I. “Tip” Harris who plays Darnell’s estranged cousin, Russell, a genuine gang- banger and head of the formidable Crenshaw Kings; Alison Brie as James’ socialite girlfriend Alissa, who ditches him once he’s arrested and Craig T. Nelson as -Alissa’s wealthy father. Edwina Findley (HBO’s “Treme”) rounds off the main cast as Darnell’s wife, Rita.
KEVIN HART as Darnell in Warner Bros. Pictures_ comedy GET HARD,sy of Warner Bros. Pictures
A jailhouse comedy is not going to be funny if it doesn’t work past all the checklists regarding lockup: shanks, skinheads, sexual favors and showers. “Get Hard” takes all the requisites and delivers the humor. Directed by Etan Cohen, the movie’s story is nothing to write home about as it’s pretty routine, but what makes it satisfying is the wit. With a quirky and funny dialogue, it has its share of effective moments – most of which come courtesy of stars Hart and Ferrell. Hart who is one of the most versatile comedy actors in film and television will next be seen starring in “Ride Along 2.”
Samantha Ofole-Prince serves as the Senior Entertainment Editor for Trendy Africa. She covers industry-specific news that includes television and film.
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