‘Get Hard’ held back by offensive jokes

Gavin Gaddis

Get Hard is an accidental love letter to a time when comedy movies were more dangerous, and by extension, actually funny.

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart star in this R-rated glut of juvenile prison-based humor held back by an inherent need to explain why a joke is not offensive.

Between 1995 and 2005 the world saw a plethora of goofy comedies that relied on a simple premise to throw jokes, wacky situations and brilliant comedic improvisations at the audience.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Anchorman, Shaun of the Dead are all comedies that can be sold in one sentence.

You cannot sell Get Hard with one sentence without portraying it as an incredibly racist stereotypical movie.

Through a series of unfortunate events, Will Ferrell’s generic jerk white-guy stockbroker is unfairly found guilty of embezzlement and is sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security jail.

Assuming the black man running the car wash in his parking garage has been to prison, Ferrell hires him as a personal trainer to ready him for prison life.

Being a well-meaning father who needs money to move to a better home so his daughter can go to a good school, Kevin Hart agrees and fakes his way through teaching Ferrell to be hard enough for prison.

Most jokes involve boring run-up scenes that establish convoluted mis-understandings so that the main actors can spout of jokes that, out of context, would be considered incredibly racist.

There are also scenes that feature jokes that simply aren’t funny.

One scene showcases ten straight minutes of Hart listing all of the ways Ferrell will be raped in prison if he doesn’t learn to defend himself. The joke of the scene is that Ferrell is making hilarious faces in reaction to what Hart is saying, but having seen this same scene with different context in almost every single Will Ferrell movie, I find it hard to be entertained.

The offensive jokes are stale, and the jokes that would cross that “so offensive it’s funny” line that Judd Apatow loves to cross in his films are bogged down by the film refusing to let anything be too offensive.

The first three big comedic beats of Get Hard rely on the audience finding a full body shot of Will Ferrell nude from behind to be funny.

Speaking of nudity, I can tell you right now that Get Hard will have a half-assed unrated blu-ray edition.

This is another leftover from that decade of comedy movies gone by. Directors would craft a scene featuring nude women cleverly shot so as to not show too much in theaters, then simply cut in a bunch of full frontal shots for the DVD release.

A racist skinhead biker bar scene later on in the film has topless women walking around in the background for no explained reason.

When Hart and Ferrell escape the bar, a topless woman jumps onto the windshield, pressing her breasts into the glass so the two comedians can scream boob-based jokes at her for several seconds before she finally falls off.

I will bet good money that several deleted scenes from that biker bar will appear in the home video edition of this movie.

The wacky magical-realism of yesteryear’s comedies has been replaced by watered-down films created simply so that the lowest common denominator can chuckle at swear words, racist stereotypes and their favorite comedian making funny faces.

If you really enjoy Hart and/or Ferrell, rent this one when it is released on blu-ray. It is very obvious that the two comedians have great chemistry, but it simply does not show through in the final product of Get Hard