Review: Get Hard

get-hard-trailer A movie with a title like ‘Get Hard’ is clearly aiming at two different demographics for very different reasons. The film works to make one crowd as uncomfortable as possible and another joyful in its crudeness. On these two objectives the film works pretty much as intended. Starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart as unlikely friends from polar opposite walks of life, Get Hard is a by the numbers comedy with a flair for the offensive; in a good way. James King (Will Ferrell) is a man who has everything he has ever wanted. He is a big time Wall St. executive, has a beautiful fiancee (played by Alison Brie), and the admiration of his co-workers. Meanwhile Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) is a regular family man who runs a carwash business and is trying desperately to pay for his young daughter to go to a better school.The only interaction that James and Darnell have ever had is through the lens of stereotypes mostly coming from James’ perspective. The two characters are seemingly nothing alike, which is the classic and frankly tired trope of films like this.

Eventually, the plot gets moving when James is framed for embezzling money from his company. His trial becomes national news and he the poster boy for corporate greed. Maintaining his innocence, James refuses to sign any plea deal and instead relies on the justice system to do the right thing; how naive of him. He is immediately sentenced to a decade in federal prison and told he has 30 days to get all his affairs in order. This is where the movie actually begins. Ferrell does what he does best here, playing a frantic goofball who just doesn’t know how to properly respond to the nightmare scenario that he is about to be in. He has several plans that don’t work out and eventually he just accepts his fate. Only then does he call upon Darnell to help him prepare for prison life. James assumes because Darnell is Black that he has been to prison, which is categorically incorrect and offensive to Darnell. However, Darnell agrees to do it to help pay for his daughter’s education.

Comedy ensues and the two begin a somewhat hilarious training regiment for prison life. The two actors do a good job playing off each other without being insufferable. Kevin Hart has a schtick that is getting a tad old, but here its more tempered and works as the cypher for the audience. He is the everyman who can’t believe James’ bizarre rich guy worldview. Will Ferrell is a decent lead in a decent comedy. He is doing his classic style and it still works well here. The movie itself is pretty by the numbers when it comes to racial comedy. Nothing particularly groundbreaking nor upsetting. You will get some good laughs but all in all a fairly forgettable movie.

[easyreview title= "Review of Get Hard" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="2.5" overall= false]

Review: The Campaign

When political rivals meet in the heat of battle we are normally treated to well staged lies and political stunts that seem so trivial. The Campaign pushes these notions to their absurd endpoint. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star as two battling politicians who are willing to put it all on the line just to call themselves one of the few in Congress. The Campaign is a not just a slap stick comedy but surprisingly it has a very astute message.

Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) is a seasoned political veteran, when he is forced to go head to head with Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) his entire career is put in jeopardy. When we first me Cam he recites his favorite catch phrase over and over to himself, “America, Jesus, Freedom.” When asked why he says that, he responds, “I have no idea but people love that shit!” Right there I knew director Jay Roach had a little more of a clever approach than what we saw in the trailers. The movie basically banks on the notion that large money interest have massive influence over politics, both local and national. When Marty Huggins, a local tour guide, is asked to run against Brady by two wealthy brothers named Glen and Wade Motch (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) he thinks he finally has hit big time. He is of course being manipulated by the brothers who share a clear comparison to Charles and David Koch. So hilarity ensues and we get baby punching, insane campaign ads, trash talk, and political rallies that were full of your cast of standard political characters. From the guy yelling about secret ties to China to discussions on whether a candidate believed in socialism in 2nd grade. While these concepts seem so silly they work more as an example of how far American politics have truly gone off the deep end.

The first half of the movie was a standard raunchy comedy that we have come to expect these days. Kids saying hilariously rude things and people put into absurd and awkward situations, all run of the mill. I laughed continually throughout and the jokes were genuine unlike Ted, for example. The second half pivots and examines what politics have become and how they are influenced. While the jokes are still there you can tell Roach wanted to make a sticking point for the audiences. He was aiming for that drive home conversation after watching The Campaign. The laughs and punches were just to get you in the door, and it worked beautifully. The pivot isn’t so outrageous that people will be off put by it, but it's certainly obvious. The movie never gets to preachy either, just lays out its message for even the lay to understand.

All in all, the acting was serviceable and there were no huge standout performances. However, what we did get was a movie that was trying to entertain and educate us. There aren’t enough movies like it so for that I am grateful. The Campaign is a genuinely funny movie, and you will come out of it happy you spent the money. While not as strong as 21 Jump Street, The Campaign takes its rightful seat in second place for comedies this year.

We will talk spoilers and more details on this week upcoming episode of The Nerdpocalypse podcast

[easyreview title= "Review of The Campaign" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.5" overall= false]

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