Audiences Howl at Tasteless Jokes in Get Hard; Idiocracy Prophecies One Step Closer to Reality

Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, has lots of dick jokes, black jokes and "unorthodox swearing," but not much else.

You might be inclined to argue that with this sort of skit-based comedy, one that relies heavily on the personalities and improvisation of its two leads, the expectations for storytelling are pretty daggone low, and you'd be right.

But boy... 

Ferrell is wealth management specialist James King, the Wolf of Sunset of Blvd., if you will. He’s got a mansion, servants, a beautiful, cash-deranged fiance (Alison Brie), even a private martial arts instructor with whom he engages in a daily slo-mo bout. But when King is sentenced to ten years in a maximum security prison for embezzlement, his life gets turned upside down. He enlists the guy who washes his car, Darnell (Hart), to teach him how to “Get Hard” in prison.

King is a slow study, but eventually embraces his upcoming sentence vis-a-vis weird cultural misappropriations. He dresses like Lil Wayne, tries to join a gang, makes shivs out of household trinkets to prepare for a simulated prison riot. And Darnell, who’s not the prison thug he’d pretended to be, is forced to walk back some of the training.

Get Hard is your standard, formulaic comedy, and one which earns its R-rating in a constant, frequently disgusting way. One of the first shots in the film is Ferrell’s naked butt, and to be honest that’s about as tasteful as it gets. Filled to the brim with all the obvious white/black culture-clash jokes we've seen before — fist-bump awkwardness, ebonics as foreign language — and tired wordplay centered on the competing interpretations of hardness (getting tough or getting erect?). LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Furthermore, there's an awful lot of gay paranoia which has become increasingly closer to par for the course in mainstream comedies with male leads. There's not only a scene of slo-mo oral sex (or an attempt, anyway) but regular allusions to the horror of male rape, illustratively dramatized with grunts and slaps. Not to mention, the storyline entire centered on Ferrell's capacity and willingness to stick objects up his butt. 

These are both extremely funny dudes. But what a waste. The script ravenously feasts upon and exemplifies the sort of crude anti-intellectualism we haven't seen since it was satirized in 2006's Idiocracy. (Oddly enough, Get Hard's debut director Etan Cohen co-wrote the Idiocracy script).   
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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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