starring Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Craig T. Nelson
screenplay by Jay Martel & Ian Roberts and Etan Cohen
directed by Etan Cohen
by Walter Chaw The title pretty much says it all, as screenwriter Etan Cohen's gay-panic directorial debut Get Hard works as the exact antidote to his own work on the smart, occasionally vital Tropic Thunder. It's puerile and indelicate--that much to be expected, I suppose, but it's laboured, too, and flat as a pancake. If Get Hard were a middle-aged man, you'd be calling an ambulance for all the wheezing. Two scenes: in the first, Wall Street wolf James King (Will Ferrell) does a patented Will Ferrell freak-out, mistaking attendant Darnell (Kevin Hart) for a carjacker, ending with Darnell saying, "I didn't mean to freak you out, man;" in the second, two scary-looking Boyz N the Hood-era gangbangers say, "Wall Street is where the real criminals at!" The former demonstrates how poorly-matched are the improvisational styles of the leads, with Ferrell needing a deadpan straight world to his shenanigans; one wonders at the wisdom of casting two alpha-comedians in a film--with no one setting up the jokes, there's never anything to pay off. (It's why Jeff Daniels is Jim Carrey's counterpart in the Dumb and Dumber movies and not Robin Williams.) The latter demonstrates how desperate the film is in trying to be smart and relevant. What could be more sophisticated and racially sensitive, after all, than a screenplay written by a bunch of identical-looking white guys imagining a Los Angeles street gang called the Crenshaw Kings transitioning their drive-by and street-smart jive business into day-trading?