FILM REVIEW: GET HARD (2015)

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Darnell Lewis: When life throws you Dick you make Dick-ade!
James King: Dick-ade doesn’t sound like a significant improvement over dick.

Director: Etan Cohen

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

Synopsis: When wealthy hedge fund manager, James King, is framed for fraud he is sentenced to maximum security prison, San Quentin. Worried about how to handle prison life he turns to his car cleaner, Darnell Lewis, who he falsely presumes knows what it’s like to be in prison because he is black. Needing the money to start his new business Darnell agrees to the offer even though he’s never actually been to prison.

A modern spin on the 80s classic comedy ‘Trading Places‘ with Will Ferrell as the stiff rich white man replacing Dan Akroyd and Kevin Hart as the poor black man (this time not homeless but a struggling business owner with a wife and daughter) replacing Eddie Murphy. It’s not officially a remake but it does borrow a lot from that film bordering on copyright.

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This is an enjoyable comedy not in the league of Ferrell’s superior comedies such as Anchorman and Step Brothers but better than most modern comedies. Hart brings his manic energy to the screen and after his hilarious stand up shows he’s beginning to bring that energy to his films after the disappointing Ride Along. Hart and Ferrell work well together but the film relies heavily on dick and rape jokes rather than their stars natural comedic talent.

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Ferrell stars as James King a wealthy hedge fund manager engaged to the smoking hot Alissa (played with wicked delight by Alison Brie). He has it all – gorgeous house, wealth, power and prestige however he soon finds himself the victim of a false accusation and faces time in prison. He turns to his car cleaner Darnell (Hart) for advice on how to survive in prison. He offers him $30,000 for his help. Darnell accepts even though he’s never been to prison. What follows is a series of sketches involving Hart preparing a disillusioned Ferrell on prison life including how to act tough, how to suck dick, and how to fight strangers. Not all of the sketches work and the dick/gay jokes feel dated in 2015. If this film came out ten or twenty years ago it would have been a lot edgier and in your face but after shock comedies such as Borat, Jackass and the American Pie series unfortunately most comedy fans have seen it all before.

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It is an enjoyable time if you enjoy the humour of Ferrell and Hart but unfortunately little else for contemporary audiences.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Adam McKay, 2013) Review

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Plot: Ron Burgundy moves from San Diego to New York to headline the worlds first 24 hour news station.

Review: Proving the rule is true “You can’t make a good comedy sequel”. From The Hangover 2 (& 3) back to Caddyshack 2 and Ghostbusters 2 you just can’t repeat the same jokes and make an enjoyable film. As much as I loved the original upon a recent screening I realized that it wasn’t that great either. Will Ferrell has been great in Zoolander and even Step Brothers however his character Ron Burgandy is rather flat and one-dimensional. He’s a womanizer, a drinker and a sexist – the quintessential man of the 60s and 70s. This shtick gets old pretty quick. His sidekicks Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Champ Kind (David Koechner) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell) fair better with their material and add a lot of laughs to proceedings. Anchorman 2 brings everyone back but can’t spark the same magic as the first as the characters plod along in an overlong plot about Ron moving on to working at Global News. Nothing is memorable and you will forget everything you saw by the time you walk back to your car from the cinema or hit stop on your remote. Not recommended.

Rating: 1 Star