Review: Get Hard
At one point during the egregiously uncomfortable Get Hard, Will Ferrell’s disgraced millionaire James King infiltrates a gang of white supremacists in order to gain protection during his forthcoming prison stint. Of course, Jim attests that he’s never done anything racist, so he knows he won’t fit in.
If only King had showed them this movie. It would be convenient for him, because it also happens to be, while utterly unfunny, aggressively homophobic and sexist. I suppose that may be the trifecta of bigotry. At least no animals were harmed.
Get Hard is so sure in its tone though, so certain that what its doing is funny that it’s not just a bad movie, but a dangerous one. It’s littered with rape jokes and offensive stereotypes, from the predatory gay man to the murder-loving black gangster. Hispanics and black women get their share of the reprehensive too. See, according to Get Hard, having a penis in your mouth is something disgusting and vile – if you’re a man. However if you’re the scantily-clad Alison Brie, well then you’re encouraged to have sex with your rich husband all the while the audience is laughing at how flabby his ass is.
Let us ignore that there is no real narrative (King enlists Kevin Hart’s Darnell it prep him for prison), never any logic, and nothing the least bit likable about King. This debasement directed by Etan Cohen (Ethan Coen should file a lawsuit) and written by Cohen alongside Jay Martel and Ian Roberts (they need to be accountable) appeals to the worst inside us and the worst among. Using the past successes and natural charm of Ferrell and Hart, it feigns to have something to say about the wealth gap, crime, and race relations, while scorching everything in its path.
The aforementioned white power scene comes just moments after Darnell is sitting in his car talking to a new gay friend, who of course can’t stop hitting on him. After all, gay men are like that. Darnell’s response is something just above revolt, which I suppose is a plus for this film.
That there is something unnerving: those rare moments when Get Hard is being just dumb or boring are welcome. That’s because it runs so puerile, so criminal and negligent, you embrace the moments it’s not, thinking for a second that it may not be all bad. But then there is yet one more joke about prison rape, and you’re reminded how doggedly grotesque it is. Sure, Hollywood’s past may have dark spots where offensive movies got green light, but in 2015, for something like this to go through is astounding. Adjusted for the times, this is surely among the worst, most offensive mainstream films ever made.