Movie Review: ‘Get Hard’


Director: Etan Coen

Cast: Will Farrell, Kevin Hart, Allison Brie

Plot: Highly successful stock broker gets accused of fraud and sentenced to 1o years maximum security prison. With 30 days before incarceration he employs the help of a car washer, who he assumes is a former convict, to help him prepare for prison.

Review: You may have noticed that the movie is being very heavily promoted on the strength of the big name comedy actors involved. This is a good move, as they really are the strength of the film. If you’re a fan of Farrell and Hart then you’ll be happy to know that they’re on form with this caper. The story allows them both to play to their strengths, with Farrell playing the naive white business man and Hart to switch up his persona between family man and thug. This is well utilised in some scenes, such as when Hart switches between three different characters in the mock-prison yard while Farrell tries to find the way out.

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That all sounds fine and dandy, but the film and it’s stars are held back by the first time director’s lack of comedic timing and inability to thread a narrative together. When decades of writing experience behind him Coen feels like he’s floundering in this new role. During the first half of the film there’s a distinct problem with set up and delivery in that they often don’t exist.

Take for example a scene in which Farrell is instructed by his prison couch to pick a fight with some tough looking characters in the park. After a funny sequence where Farrell mocks the targets while obviously terrified they chase him down and…well, the scene stops. We don’t see what happens to him beyond them grabbing him and in the next scene there’s no evidence of him being hurt. Not even a token band-aid. At other times we jump straight into a scene without any set up, such as when Farrell is suddenly well versed in prison life and can produce shanks from every crevice.

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Going in we thought that the ‘white guy trying to act black’ routine was feeling a bit stale in the current age, but the movie created a decent premise. Hart’s character is straight and narrow and some of the humour comes from Farrell making assumptions based on statistical analysis and living in ignorance of the real world. So far, so good. But then the second act runs with 90% of all jokes ending with the punchline ‘lol they’re gay’. The movie’s attitude towards sexuality feels more than a little stale, with every gay character a raging stereotype and the very notion of gay sex frequently trotted out as the absolute worst thing that could ever happen.

Another big failing is the lack of Allison Brie. It would appear that her only role in the film is looking smashing in lingerie, but she only features in a total of four scenes. For someone who should be a central point of the main character’s motivation she doesn’t do anything, or have any personality. Community has shown that she has a great comedic talent but she doesn’t get one good line in this film.

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I loved more than I expected to with this one, some of the routines are genuinely funny. The direction and editing is downright amateurish but it’s worth it if you like the talent.

Rating: SIX out of TEN

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