2.5 stars. Rated R, for pervasive crude and sexual content, relentless profanity, graphic nudity and drug references
By Derrick Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 3.27.15
If relentless vulgarity and blithe racism, sexism and homophobia can be considered an art form, then I guess Will Ferrell is a Rembrandt.
There may be a racial, gender or religious faction left unsmeared by Ferrell’s newest foray into moron comedy, but it’d be hard to determine who got left behind.
And, no doubt, that would have been an oversight. I’m sure scripters Adam McKay, Jay Martel, Ian Roberts and Etan Cohen — the latter also occupying the director’s chair — intended to be equal-opportunity offensive.
Get Hard is typical Ferrell, with the Saturday Night Live veteran swanning through yet another contrived plot constructed around its boorish sight gags. By no means can what Ferrell does be termed acting, since his entire persona is built around a naïve twit alter-ego who cheerfully, unwittingly, insults and outrages everybody within his orbit.
This gimmick has served him well for 20 years, so I guess he sees no reason to change. And it could be argued that viewer indignation and disgust are tempered by the fact that Ferrell works hardest to make fun of himself. He clearly knows that his various screen characters are ignorant, clueless boobs, and he revels in their boobishness.
Which, in a weird way, makes his behavior more palatable.
A bit more palatable, anyway.
Because — as always is the case — a little of Will Ferrell goes a long, long way, and 100 minutes of him in Get Hard might have been difficult to endure ... were in not for the truly hilarious presence of co-star Kevin Hart.
Frankly, Hart should get top billing. He runs away with this film, stealing every scene he’s in, and he’s a helluva lot funnier than Ferrell. Hart has the rhythmic physical grace, streetwise savvy and impeccable comic timing of a young Eddie Murphy at his prime: a vibrant screen presence that couldn’t be a more welcome alternative to Ferrell’s insipid white-bread doofus.