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Get Hard (2015)
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/30/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/23/2015
It's difficult to believe that in 2015 we are still debating about race in America. And yet, it's the hottest topic in the news by now. The entertainment industry continues to have issues with race as well. If you look at a lot of television shows, especially those aimed at younger people, you will see a true rainbow of ethnic diversity. However, there still seems to be a divide between "white" movies and "black" movies at times. Hollywood has an especially odd track record when it comes to mixed-race buddy comedies. Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor laid the groundwork for this in 1980's Stir Crazy. We then got 1982's 48 Hrs. with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. (Although, it can be argued that that film leaned more towards action.) Now, over thirty years later, along comes Get Hard with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Have movies learned how to perfect this formula yet?
Ferrell stars in Get Hard as James, a man who seemingly has it all. Working in investments, he's very rich and is engaged to the beautiful Alissa (Alison Brie). As he works for Martin (Craig T. Nelson), Alissa's father, James has job security as well. But, that all ends when James is charged with fraud. Knowing that he is innocent, James turns down the plea deal, but the judge decides to make an example of him and sentences James to 10 years in prison. Fearing that he won't survive prison, James approaches car detailer Darnell (Kevin Hart) seeking advice, as he assumes that Darnell has been to prison. Despite the fact that he's never been to jail, Darnell accepts the job and its big paycheck, as it will afford him the opportunity to buy a new house. So, Darnell turns James' house into a simulated prison and sets out to toughen up the spoiled, rich man. But, can he complete his task in just a few weeks.
Will Ferrell is funny. Kevin Hart is funny. Therefore, Get Hard should be incredibly funny. But, it's not. There are some humorous moments and I chuckled a few times, but the belly laughs which one would want/expect from these two funny men. This should have been the funniest movie of the year, but most scenes simply lie there and the audience is left befuddled.
Why does this happen? There are two main reasons. The screenplay by Jay Martel & Ian Roberts and Etan Cohen is the laziest kind of writing. The basic premise is wafer thin and it's oddly reminiscent of the filmBig Stan. The "story" simply becomes an excuse for a series of vignettes in which James acts stupid and Darnell attempts to act tough. The "jokes" become very repetitive and the movie is sorely lacking in anything truly clever. The movie devolves into a pattern of rape joke, Darnell yelling, gang-banger joke, repeat as necessary. This is wrapped around a "plot" which would have felt hackneyed in the 80s and it takes for too long for James and Darnell to realize what is really going on.
The other issue is the film's tone. This movie wants to please everyone and in the process, pleases no one. Again, the movie is about a clash of races, which is fine. The problem is that the movie attempts to be very broad and play to different audiences. Not to imply that a movie can't present different points of view which will appeal to a diverse audience, but the movie feels like it shifts gears and in an attempt to be color-blind, it only emphasizes racial differences. The movie vacillates from jokes about white-collar crime to James attempting to act likes he's part of a gang. These moments are cringe-worthy and many will find them offensive.
Given what is going on in the nation right now, it would be great if we could get a movie which truly bridges a diverse audience and offers jokes which are simply funny and don't fall back on age-old stereotypes. Get Hard is not that movie. The movie only reinforces negative images and plays to the lowest common denominator. This one note movie wastes the talents of Ferrell and Hart and only leaves us wondering what could have been if these two funny men had been given a solid script.
Get Hard is an experience which is sort of like prison on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good (and really stand out here), and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is notable, as the image is never soft and skin tones aren't waxy, and the depth is adequate. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The film offers a great deal of bass-heavy music and this gives the subwoofer a true workout. Stereo effects show good separation and the surround sound effects really come to life during a chase sequence.
The Get Hard Blu-ray Disc has a surprising amount of extras. "Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow" (4 minutes) offers alternate takes and bloopers from a particularly uncomfortable moment in the film. "Line-O-Ramas" (10 minutes) offers four categories -- "Swear-O-Rama", "Pickup-O-Rama", "Shiv-O-Rama" and "Cry A River-O-Rama" -- of unused and throw-away lines. "The Kevin Hart Workout" (3 minutes) shows Hart doing stuntwork, most of which involves the actor being thrown around in a harness. "Face Off with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart" (5 minutes) has the two comics simply goofing around on-set. "Ferrell Fighting" (3 minutes) takes us on-set to show us some alternate takes from James' fight scenes and martial arts practice. "A Date with John Mayer" (2 minutes) has Mayer and Ferrell discussing their scene and the art of guitar. The "dance" is explained in "Twerking 101" (1 minute). "Will Ferrell, Gangsta" (2 minutes) looks at the "hip-hop fashions" in the film. "Inmates: Out of Control" (6 minutes) is sort of a making-of, which then focuses on Ferrell and Hart's comedy stylings, as well some of the other actors. "Bikers, Babes, and Big Bangs" (3 minutes) goes behind the scenes for the white supremacists scene. We get a 3-minute GAG REEL. The Disc contains eight DELETED SCENES which run about 25 minutes, and all of which are simply longer versions of scenes from the finished film.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long