'Get Hard' disappoints but delivers laughs

When James (Will Ferrell) is sentenced to prison, he hires Darnell (Kevin Hart) to prepare him for the ordeal in "Get Hard." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Patti Perret)

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart are expert comedians, so there are plenty of laughs in “Get Hard,” especially if you don’t mind the vulgar side of funny.

Ferrell plays James, a Harvard Business School graduate with a knack for making obscene piles of money. He’s got a big house, a smoking hot fiancé (Alison Brie) and a happy boss/future father-in-law (Craig T. Nelson).

Everything’s great for James until he’s arrested for large-scale financial irregularities that turn him into a talk show joke.

When James learns he’s going to prison, he assumes Darnell (Hart) can prepare him for the rough times ahead. Darnell’s never been to prison, but he doesn’t correct James’ assumption because of $30,000 on the line.

The movie flirts with a message about income inequality, and there are moments that hit home, like the glee James’ hired help expresses when they get to push him around on Darnell’s orders.

Plenty of negative stereotypes are brought into play, and that has concerned some viewers. I wasn’t offended by it, and felt the filmmakers had a reason to travel the territory they traveled, even if it wasn’t always funny.

That’s not to say I was comfortable from start to finish. Some moments aren’t easy to watch. For instance, Ferrell does a scene involving full-frontal male nudity.

Despite the laughs – uncomfortable and otherwise – this is an uneven movie with a mostly predictable ending.

But I think other reviewers have been too harsh to “Get Hard.” Ferrell and Hart definitely develop a chemistry, and there are surprising moments, as when the pair are at the dinner table with Darnell’s wife and daughter (Edwina Findley Dickerson and Ariana Neal).

I give “Get Hard” a C.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

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