When fabulously wealthy hedge-fund manager, James King (Will Ferrell) faces a 10 year prison term after being convicted on 76 counts of fraud and embezzlement, he hires Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart), an African-American car-washer whom he assumes is an ex-con, to toughen him up for what lies ahead. Steadfastly maintaining his innocence, Harvard-educated King has just been made partner at the Los Angeles investment firm run by Martin (Craig T. Nelson), and he’s has a sexy, gold-digging fiancée, Alissa (Alison Brie), who gets John Mayer to serenade him at their engagement party. Read on…
But when his lawyer (Greg Germann), predicts, “He’ll be chokin’ on a mouthful of balls,” King absolutely panics. He has 30 days of house arrest before he’s shipped off to San Quentin to become someone’s “bitch.”
What he doesn’t realizes is that Darnell is a working-class family man with a pushy wife, Rita (Edwina Findley Dickerson), and young daughter, Makayla (Ariana Neal). Desperately needing $30,000 for a home mortgage so they can move out of crime-riddled South Central, Darnell gamely pretends to have a gangsta past, enlisting the help of his cousin (T.I. Harris) as the boss of the ‘hood.
Scripted by Jay Martel, Ian Roberts and first-time director Etan Cohen (co-writer of “Tropic Thunder”) – it’s a one-joke premise, pivoting around King’s fear of rape and enforced fellatio, including an explicit scene of King staring at a man’s penis while contemplating oral sex at a bathroom urinal in a gay bar.
Crude, R-rated jabs at race, gender and homosexuality abound – from a white supremacist motorcycle gang to the Crenshaw Kings. But the dumb jokes are stale and the result is uneven and tiresome, even though it occasionally evokes tinges of the far-better “Trading Places.”
Basically, it’s an embarrassment and waste of two talented comedians: Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Get Hard” is an atrocious 2. One may be patient with raunchy stupidity – but not with those who are proud of it.