Review by Julio Torres
Watching the trailer for Get Hard made the film seem like it was shaping up to be a sub par comedy movie. With that said I was pleasantly surprised at how well the movie turned out to be. With the right amount of funny and awkward moments Will Ferrell's character created and Kevin Hart's grounding supporting role, the two comedian's created a comedic atmosphere that was both regulated and inviting to the audience. Like with most comedy films, this one suffered from some unfunny one liners and unfortunate directing.
The story begins with James King (Will Ferrell), a rich stock's trader in his mansion of a house with his beautiful, soon-to-be bride, Alissa (Alison Brie). James' life seems great as he is well greeted by his co-workers and is given a promotion by his accepting father-in law. Unfortunately, shortly after, during James and his fiancee's bridal shower, James is arrested by the FBI and convicted for fraud leading to James' sentence to the worst jail in the U.S. known as San Quentin. Afraid of what might happen to his own behind in jail, James seeks the help of his money-struggling and car washing family man, Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart), under the false impression that Darnell has done hard time himself. Darnell ultimately accepts the job of prison coach under the condition that Darnell will be paid for his efforts.
Throughout the movie, Will Ferrell's character shows the great development of a person going through boot camp with what seemed to show no results at first. As Ferrell learns to be tough he ultimately also keeps what makes the character of James fun and lovable. The eloquent one-liners coming from a white collared James were great to have for those that understood the references but did not shy away from the comedy as Hart's reaction to the lines catered well to both audiences. Specifically, the scene with Ferrell practicing his "trash-talk" had great one-liners which blended both the well-formed vocabulary of James King with the foul language typically read during a heated argument over the internet. The use of montage during the film as Ferrell wears what he describes as "Lil' Wayne's" attire pairs well with how ridiculous he looks wearing the multiple golden chain necklaces, sagged camo pants and highlighter orange shirt. As the movie is catered to a more modern audience, the soundtrack choice in the end hit their marks well especially during comedic moments in the film. With enough ridiculous scenes, the pacing of the movie worked well with the exception of one or two scenes that felt could have ended a bit sooner.
With the story holding two characters on-screen, Kevin Hart was the grounded, more normal, character but with his own comedic moments mostly when Ferrell was not present in the scene. Looking back to this, it might not have been what people would have wanted or expected from Kevin Hart. During the prison coaching of Will Ferrell, Hart's character was as creative as can be, making things like a jail cell, prison yard and overall remodeling Ferrell's mansion into a legitimately looking prison. Where the creativity for this character came from, we are not sure as Hart's untold story is more than enough to make me feel like more time was spent into developing Ferrell's main story. Of course, Kevin Hart's reason for becoming the prison coach for Will Ferrell was explained but at no point in the movie did I ever feel for Hart or his family struggling to get out of a bad looking neighborhood. As for the direction of Kevin Hart's character, Darnell, there seemed to be a lack of motivation which also could have lead to the trouble of edited some scenes together. When thinking of a specific scene, at one point during the movie Darnell is punched in the face with enough force that it knocks him to the ground. To show this sequence of actions happen the movie goes from a close-up shot of Darnell being punched directly to a medium shot of Darnell falling slowly to the floor with no real force or motivation behind the fall.
In retrospect, it may seem like the fault of the movie was on Kevin Hart's character but I believe the lack of direction and writing is to blame. While the direction for Will Ferrell worked it was overall what the character was meant to be, awkward and funny coming from a goof ball who could not completely comprehend the situations he found himself in. As stated above, the movie had great moments from Will Ferrell with the supporting role of Kevin Hart's grounding character magnifying those moments even more. One-liners were mostly hit or miss but pleasantly placed at moments you wouldn't be able to anticipate.
FINAL RATING: 3 OUT OF 5 PEWS