Not that hard
There is a great comedy hidden in Get Hard, one which is unflinching about satirizing the economic disparity post-recession. That is what Get Hard is trying to do. Will Ferrell’s ludicrous hedge fund manager James King pairs with Kevin Hart’s Darnell for a touch of accessible class warfare.
Except Get Hard is oddly in retreat. It appears afraid of being ridiculed for stereotypes – were it not spilling them across the screen elsewhere. Ferrell is preposterously rich (but not so rich as to build a bigger house) and Hart is poor (but wants a $300,000 home). Odd. Then come the gay cliches, the white biker Nazis, the South L.A. gang members; it’s a stream of token race and sexual gags infinitely overplayed between flourishes of genuinely funny, hyper vulgar exchanges from Ferrell/Hart.
Get Hard drives through its plot conveniences. Actually, the plot doesn’t matter outside of the first and last 10 minutes. The movie just needs something to open and close on. Everything in the middle is Hart breaking from his niceties and Ferrell losing them in preparation for a prison stay. Someone going to prison for financial crime… it’s the most ridiculous thing in Get Hard.
As a satire, the screenplay magnifies the lunacy often put forth by the hyper rich. Work to always succeed, but “I made it thanks to dad’s $8 million.” It’s a depressingly obvious observation. Ferrell flips past a wad of hundreds before giving a $2 tip, and is implausibly unaware of his own obnoxiousness. But, when Get Hard backs away from going all in, it’s less hard than it is simply soft.
Ignore the half & half success rate of the social commentary and what’s left of Get Hard is not much, yet too quick moving to notice. Narrative-less comedies are less of a trend than they are overwhelming anymore. Find an excuse to put incompatible people in funny scenarios and off they go. Reality TV’s concept, just scripted. Fully scripted anyhow.
The R rating must stand for “Redundant.”
The R rating must stand for “Redundant.”
Here the jumping point is an excuse for a litany of gleefully childish prevision. Balls, balls, balls. Everything is balls. Or prison rape. There is a slew of that. The R rating must stand for “Redundant.” Still, when Get Hard is funny, it knows it’s funny. Conversations stretch to take full advantage of the comedic pairing and this marks Kevin Hart’s full-on success in a leading role after duds like Ride Along and Grudge Match. Here, he’s a presence – loud enough to withstand even a Will Ferrell screaming session or two as well.
Iffy as Get Hard can be, at least it can be the first film to show Hart at his peak. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Movie]
There is little going on with Get Hard visually. Here’s a comedy in 1.85:1 with limited color adjustment and even less impacting cinematography (not that such a film needs much). It’s a plain-looking feature.
Encoding from Warner is fine. High-fidelity information is preserved and as it goes with digital productions, clarity makes the compression work easy. In close, every actor involved has their share of detailed facial work. Pores, hairs, Ferrell’s body hair; you’ll miss nothing, good or bad is a personal choice.
The film is bright with plenty of color. Flesh tones are pleasingly natural and that is a positive shift away from the digitally graded oranges many in this genre reach for. Primaries are clean, and when Ferrell dons his “thug” gear, things begin to show off. With the help of a gorgeously bright contrast, Get Hard has bunches of energy. At night, black levels recede into natural darkness. Post-production work does not sap any shadows. It’s quite nice. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Stereos are active in this DTS-HD track. There are numerous moments where voices travel out to the sides or other activities. They always seem on point. Surrounds less so, although when they pop out, it’s dramatic. A faux-prison riot, biker bar, flamethrower (!); those are moments to take notice of.
And the latter flamethrower incident digs low into the LFE too. Each burst has a ton of weight. The same goes for the menagerie of hip hop used in the soundtrack. Subwoofers will activate as needed, which is more often than expected. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Most of this disc should be under a play all option. Apparently, those have disappeared; it looks better on the back of the box to have everything individualized. Forget convenience. So up first is three minute BTS called Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow, offering some priceless outtakes on a comedic highlight. Four separate line-o-ramas are great and annoyingly short given their separation.
Stunts are showcased in the brief Kevin Hart Workout, with Face Off sitting Ferrell and Hart down to chat with one another. The play nice. Ferrell’s in-movie fighting “style” is up next, with a short two-minute blip about John Mayer’s cameo following. All of one minute is spent making Craig T. Nelson feel awkward about twerking, and three minutes detailing the bikers. A whopping 1:45 details Ferrell’s clothing choice. A general making-of runs seven minutes, Inmates Out of Control.
A gag reel is worth watching, and 24-minutes of deleted scenes mostly drag on past any sensible expiration date. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Extras]
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.