Saturday, August 8, 2015

I rent, I watch, I review: GET HARD

More often than not, Oscars are given out to dramas that have historical significance. They're given out to "serious" movies. And over the past few years, we've had our fair share of decent-to-great dramas which crowds the Oscar field. However, it's hard not to notice the near-complete dearth of great comedies in the last decade. You can name the really good-to-great ones on one hand, probably. This is especially true when it comes to studio-made comedies. Why is it so difficult to make something legitimately funny these days? Why are the majority of them just bland and forgettable?

Take "Get Hard" for example. Here, you have two bankable, talented comedic actors: Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. They've made their fair share of funny movies before, and in this movie, they managed to have some good chemistry together. Yet, it's wasted on such a lazy script that's based on this broad idea of a rich white wealthy hedge fund manager getting prison tips from someone who's never been to prison before but pretends he has as the hedge fund guy promises to pay him a lot of money. The hedge fund manager, played by Will Ferrell, is being hauled off to prison in 30 days. Kevin Hart plays the other guy, who runs a car wash operation in the same parking garage of this hedge fund company, he's the man who's elected to be the "prison trainer."

Within "Get Hard" are different elements that suggest this could've gone several satirical routes. The writers chose none of those routes. For example, there's a wealth of material for the taking when it comes to skewering those who run hedge funds, especially ones who are caught embezzling and are convicted of fraud. "Get Hard" barely touches upon any of this.

And when the movie shows hints of poking fun at a wealthy hedge fund's ignorance towards other, particularly ethnic, cultures, the writers take the easiest, broadest route possible. Rather than trying to mine laughs that offers the least bit of hindsight, they go for the dumbest, most tired joke possible. Like, Will Ferrell getting dressed up like a gangster, listening to rap for the first time. Despite Ferrell and Hart doing their best to make the material work, due to an unimaginative script, they're dead in the water.

Bottom line: "Get Hard" just doesn't have very many laughs. And if there are some laughs, it's because these actors did their best to sell the jokes. No effort was made to turn this premise into something interesting. For the first 75 minutes or so, we're stuck watching Hart bark orders at Ferrell. For the last half hour, they finally decide to figure out whether Ferrell's character is actually guilty of the crimes he's accused of. It's just lazy writing all around, so much so that you're surprised when the movie actually decides to have a real plot. Surprised, and quite frankly, disappointed because... who gives a shit about any of this? The writers don't, they're just making an overly-formulaic by-the-numbers comedy to get a paycheck. So why should we care what happens to these characters? What a waste of talent.

Grade: C-

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