Get Hard is typical fare for Ferrell and Hart fans, but this one is getting some flack about its racial and gay material. But whereas the filmmakers (Etan Cohen, director; Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, writers) do make an issue of these subjects constantly, I think they are successful in striking a balance between both points of view about race and homosexuality. They air both sides. Additional jibes are made about the very wealthy (1%) vs. the other 99%. The Ferrell character (James King) is extremely wealthy, and the Hart character (Darnell Lewis), while not poor, is struggling. My impression is that they make pointed references to the “haves’” attitudes from the beginning, and by the end the “have”—King—is definitely on the side of the majority of Americans, and justice is served in the case of some wealthy financiers.
The plot begins with James King sitting pretty with a secure position in investments, a mansion of a house in Bel Air, California, and a gorgeous fiancé who happens to be his boss’ daughter. Like many of his kind apparently are, he is oblivious to the people taking care of him, and he feels invulnerable. However, his charmed life is about to come to an end when he is arrested for securities fraud and embezzlement. After a trial in which he is found guilty, the judge orders a 10-year prison sentence—although he is allowed to go free for 30 days with an ankle identification device.
King is a nice guy, and has been cordial with the car-washing service owned by Lewis. When Lewis finds out that King is going to prison, he gives hints about what is likely to be in store for King, a white prisoner, especially in San Quentin. King does some quick statistical analyses in his head and concludes that since Darnell is black he must have been in prison. (We’ll ignore the fact that statistics such as “so many out of so many” says nothing about an individual.) Darnell plays on the stereotype, and agrees to coach King on how to survive in prison, teaching him how to fight (not so successful; King is a soft, Harvard-educated intellectual), how to trash talk, how to “suck dick”, and other “skills.”
This is an elaborate training program that involves enlisting the help of a black gang and a Nazi-like white motorcycle band. In the process, King and Darnell become fast friends, which is in large part the point of the movie.
Although this type of film is not the kind I gravitate toward, I do appreciate the effort to bridge the gaps between racial, sexual, and economic groups, and although much of the film is silly hi-jinx and the humor often eluded me, it held my interest.
Definitely a film for Ferrell and Hart fans.
Grade: C+ By Donna R. Copeland