Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell are the latest big-name comedic odd-pairing selling a high-concept comedy film – a trick Hart recently pulled (to middling success) with Josh Gad in The Wedding Ringer. In this new film – the suggestively-titled Get Hard – Ferrell plays an executive named James King, whose white collar crimes have him facing a long stint in prison. Kevin Hart plays Darnell Lewis, a mild-mannered black man who exploits King’s passive stereotyping in order to make the rich man believe that he (Darnell) is “street” enough to provide comprehensive survival strategy for prison.
Of course, Darnell is NOT street enough to really be a prison kingpin, so the question becomes how many pitfalls he and Jams will stumble into as they carry each other through the shared delusion that they know how to properly “get hard.”
This is one of those cases where there is going to be a built-in audience for this movie – and it’s going to be a much wider net than The Wedding Ringer. Hart is a box office brand in his own right (see: the success of Think Like a Man, Ride Along and The Wedding Ringer) – and even though Anchorman 2 wasn’t the hit many expected, Ferrell is still a comedian with a big following. Partnered with Hart, he has a lot of appeal to offer in the “goofy white guy” slot.
As for the gags: this red-band trailer reveals a pretty much by-the-numbers checklist of every prison-related stereotype you could convert into observational and/or raunchy humor. While that may be a bit too on-the-nose for some, director Etan Cohen wrote a script for Tropic Thunder that successfully lined up – and then shot down – one Hollywood trope and stereotype after another.
Assuming Cohen and his team of writers did the same with Get Hard, it could be a fun riff on American jail culture, as well as offering smart commentary on the glorification and bravado that often surrounds that culture. Comedies that are smart AND funny are hard to come by, but are often worth the wait.
Get Hard will be in theaters on March 27th.
Source: Warner Bros.