Get Hard review: Plenty of stereotypes on show – but also some solid performances

Latest effort from Etan Cohen takes a while to warm up

Film Title: Get Hard

Director: Etan Cohen

Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley, Craig T. Nelson

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 100 min

Fri, Mar 27, 2015, 09:00

   

It’s a shame that Get Hard, a film that sets out to satirise stereotypes, has come under scrutiny for its use of, well, stereotypes.

True, the new comedy from Etan Cohen (who previously co-authored Tropic Thunder and Idiocracy) features a wildly camp homosexual character. But the same film is careful to include the same gentleman in a later scene, having now befriended Kevin Hart.

And true, when WASPy master of the universe James King (Ferrell) is charged with insider trading and sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin, he enlists Darnell (Kevin Hart), the only black man he knows, to teach him how to survive.

Crucially, however, James King is an idiot and Darnell, who is, by his cousin’s reckoning, a ‘khaki-pants-wearing Cliff Huxtable’, has never been to jail.

If one still has doubts over Get Hard’s intentions, it’s worth noting that King is only redeemed when various repressed minorities – including the Latino gardener – get to beat him up, sometimes figuratively, mostly literally.

The film takes a little while to warm up: Ferrell’s straight-laced stooge proves a little too constraining during an overture which introduces his privileged life. It is left to Kevin Hart to supply suitable bursts of manic energy until Ferrell’s character moves into Heart of Darkness territory.

A pleasing detour into the world (and plot) of Boyz n the Hood allows for various gangsta-related shenanigans led by rapper T.I.

Equally solid supporting players include Veep’s Dan Bakkedahl as Ferrell’s office rival and Community’s Alison Brie as an avaricious fiancee.