On Friday, we headed to the Arclight Hollywood for a twenty-one plus screening of Get Hard. This was our first time at one of their twenty-one plus screenings and it was not likely something that we would repeat. They have a bar right outside of the theatre and you can bring drinks into the movie, so a majority of the audience was hammered before the movie began. Neither of us drank and being sober in a room full of drunks was definitely not the way to go. We are so used to a quiet, respectful movie going crowd that the Arclight usually attracts, but at this showing, all bets were off. People were talking, cell phones were in constant use and there was even a loud verbal argument with a group sitting towards the front of the auditorium.
The twenty-one plus screening was a mess. On the upside, we had our first Arclight celebrity sighting as were were paying for parking. Nolan Gould, who plays Luke on Modern Family, was also paying for parking.
On to the movie...
PLOT - James King ( Will Ferrell) is living a charmed life. He's insanely wealthy, engaged to be married to a beautiful fiancé and he has just been made partner at his hedge fund firm. His life comes crashing down, when he is wrongly convicted of fraud and embezzlement. Rather than send him to a white collar prison, the judge wants to make an example out of James and he is sentenced to ten years in San Quentin. James is given thirty days to get his affairs in order.
Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) is struggling to get ahead. He lives in South Central with his wife and young daughter, but he desperately needs thirty thousand dollars to put a downpayment on a house in a safer neighborhood. He owns a carwash company in the building where James works.
James is a desperate man as the days to his prison sentence come closer and he has a conversation with Darnell, where James reveals that he assumes that since Darnell is African-American, that he has served time in prison. Although this assumption is incorrect, Darnell goes along with it and strikes a deal with James, for thirty thousand dollars, Darnell will prep James for prison life.
LIKE - Will Farrell and Kevin Hart are both hilarious and they are a great team in Get Hard. Like most Farrell movies, the story is utterly ridiculous, but if you just go with it, it's a fun ride. The actors are better than the actual story and the funniest moments in the film are when they are clearly going off of the script and riffing the lines. Although the general story arc was highly predictable ( they will develop a friendship and the bad guy will be caught in the end), the story did have some elements that were less obvious, especially within the realm of how Darnell instructs James. I thought that it was a strong choice to have James be a character that is just so completely out of touch with any reality, rather than him being someone who is simply racist or stereotyping. He's naive. It made me root for him, even as he was making some pretty awful statements.
DISLIKE - The comedy was uneven. There were moments where I was laughing so hard that I teared up, but mostly, it wasn't funny enough to make me laugh-out-loud. Occasionally, I thought that they tried too hard to be edgy or to straddle the line between offensive and funny. Sometimes it was just plain offensive. It didn't need to try quite so hard.
RECOMMEND - Sure. Clearly this isn't a brilliant film or something that's going to win any awards, but as far as low-rate comedies go, Get Hard was fun. It's not going to be a classic or maybe even one that I will rewatch, but it was an enjoyable Friday night out at the movies. If anything, watch it for the pairing of Hart and Farrell.