In my opinion, Kevin Hart is one of the most overrated comedians these days.
He rarely acts in funny films, and seems to take whatever role will write him a check. My disdain for him went so far as to immediately write off Get Hard as another unfunny film banking on Hart and Will Ferrell’s popularity, before I had even seen it.
With all of that in mind, I was shocked to find myself laughing so often throughout the movie. There were enough laugh out loud moments to validate the cost of admission, and I was pleased to find that although its plot was largely based around the stereotyping of African Americans, all of that racism was only promoted by Will Ferrell’s character and were clearly not the views of the filmmakers or actors. There was a wide range of personalities to be found, and none of them were sole representations of a race.
The film follows James King, played by Will Ferrell, a wealthy hedge fund manager, who finds himself charged with embezzlement and fraud. He enlists the services of Darnell Lewis, portrayed by Kevin Hart, to help prepare him for prison, assuming that because Lewis is black and works a blue-collar job, he was at one time in prison himself.
While it is not the most engaging plot, and the story follows a template found in most Ferrell films, it didn’t rely on overtly stereotyping an entire race to achieve its humorous ends, which I found commendable as well as fresh.
Sure, there were a few plot holes here and there, but the story was enough to deliver some pretty good lines.
Directing-wise, this film marks the debut of Etan Cohen who manages to do well enough to carry the film, even if there are a few moments where lines fell flat, due to poor direction alone. What pleasantly surprised me the most, however, was the film’s soundtrack which featured an eclectic collection of hip-hop including 2pac, Major Lazer and even Die Antwoord.
When it comes down to what made the movie funny, it’s clear that the humor would have failed to deliver laughs most of the time if not for Will Ferrell. Even if he succeeded due to a well worn formula, it was still a success, whereas Kevin Hart has proven his simply not meant to be the funny man.
So many scenes with great potential failed due to his inability to exaggerate them for proper effect. If he is to continue landing such parts, movie studios really need to make sure he is paired with funnier actors, lest we have more of The Wedding Ringer, and less of Get Hard.