Will Ferrell’s latest comedy Get Hard has once again sparked controversy in the States as the humour collides with some dodgy stereotypes regarding race, gender and sexual orientation. The theme is pretty clear from the start; the divide between crime and poverty stricken black U S of A and Ivy League white America – no wonder then that it was hard for Ferrell to stay within the lines of political correctness.
On the one hand we have Harvard graduate and Wall Street big-shot James King (Will Ferrell) living out the dream in a fairly blissful ignorance of his abundant advantage. On the other, Darnell (Kevin Hart), a hard-working family man running his own car wash business and hardly making ends meet. The unlikely pairing eventually come into contact when King is falsely done for embezzlement and fraud and turns to Darnell to prepare him for prison – his assumption being that one in three black men go to prison so the odds of this one being able to help him are in his favour. With 30 days to get hard for prison (get it?), Darnell obligingly adopts every stereotype King already assumes for the money he’s been promised, in an attempt of turning King from softy to hardy.
The two highly reputed comedians manned with a set of one liners, face off with gags primarily revolving around what could happen to a white man in a dodgy American prison. Although the humour may be borderline, filtered with some obvious corny gags and casual nudity, isn’t that what you expect from a Ferrell movie nowadays? I would argue that the jokes don’t have the calibre to compete with the side-splitting classics that were Anchorman, Step Brothers, or even the great Old School, but Get Hard still has its moments. Let’s be honest though, you wouldn’t willingly go to a Frankie Boyle show and come out ready to complain about how offended you were on Trip Advisor. Ultimately it comes down to taste and knowing what to expect – let’s face it, the title is a big clue!
Most people have made their minds up about Ferrell, and it’s unlikely to be changed any time soon. Fair enough, some of us might have grown out of the comedy that made our 15 year old selves giggle for hours; but once you accept the bound-to-be risky humour, it’s still an enjoyable laugh.