Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Etan Cohen|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Edited by||Michael L. Sale|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$111.8 million|
Get Hard is a 2015 American comedy film directed by Etan Cohen (in his directorial debut) and written by Cohen, Jay Martel and Ian Roberts. The film stars Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley, T.I. and Craig T. Nelson. The film was released on March 27, 2015 to negative reviews but was a financial success, grossing over $111 million.
James King is an extremely wealthy hedge fund manager at Barrow Funds, run by Martin Barrow. He is engaged to Barrow's gold-digging daughter, Alissa. James has come to know Darnell Lewis, a car wash attendant who accidentally frightened James in a parking lot. Darnell and Rita are trying to put their daughter Makayla in a better school away from the bad neighborhood they live in.
Alissa hosts an engagement party for herself and James. She has arranged for John Mayer to perform at the party, and James is playing guitar alongside Mayer when the FBI storm in and arrest James for fraud and embezzlement. James' lawyer, Peter Penny, urges James to go for a guilty plea and a likely short sentence, but James refuses and insists that he will be exonerated. Instead, James is found guilty and sentenced to ten years in San Quentin State Prison, with only 30 days to get his affairs in order. James wants to flee the country with Alissa, but she dumps him.
James encounters Darnell and, assuming he has been incarcerated because he is black, asks Darnell how he managed in prison. James begs for Darnell's help and agrees to pay him $30,000 to toughen him up for prison.
Darnell, who has little idea of how to act tough, starts the "training" by pepper-spraying James. He tries to get James to develop a "mad dog" face, but James can only "sad dog" it. Darnell creates scenarios in which James must defend himself, only for James to be beaten multiple times.
James gets in touch with Barrow and says he is getting help. Martin, the actual crook, thinks James is onto him and orders Peter and a hired gun named Gayle to take care of business.
With no sign that James is toughening up, Darnell figures that James should be prepared in other ways for prison. He takes James to a gay hook-up spot for James to learn how to perform oral sex in prison. James can't go through with it and tells Darnell that he will keep going and do whatever it takes to "get hard." James starts to work out harder and faster, makes shivs, and learns "keistering" (smuggling contraband in the anus). Darnell simulates a prison raid with help from James' domestic staff. In the chaos, James gets a shiv stuck in his head, so Darnell takes James to his home for Rita to treat it. He has dinner and listens to Darnell make up a story of how he went to prison (which is just a retelling of Boyz n the Hood).
James and Darnell resolve for James to join a local gang called the Crenshaw Kings to gain protection in prison. James dresses in a ridiculous outfit that gets unwanted attention. Darnell's cousin Russell, the gang leader, isn't convinced that James can pay him and knows that Darnell is lying about prison. Darnell next drives James to a bar to try and get in with the Alliance of Whites gang. James is unable to be a convincing racist, leading the gang to think he's a cop, but Darnell rescues him by bursting in with a flamethrower.
Darnell and James finally deduce that Barrow is the crook. They sneak into his office and find the embezzlement records on Barrow's computer. Unfortunately, Gayle finds them and takes back the computer, while informing James that Darnell has never been in prison.
Dejected, James returns to the Crenshaw Kings on his own. For his initiation, they want him to kill someone. Darnell arrives in time to convince him to expose Barrow. The two sneak onto Barrow's yacht to retrieve the computer only to come across Gayle and more goons. James unleashes a series of capoeira moves on them before Barrow and Alissa arrive, both confessing to the fraud and embezzlement, a scheme that also included Peter. They try to convince James to run away with them, but he turns them down and heads to a life raft with Darnell. When Gayle shoots the life raft, James pulls out a gun he had "keistered" and aims it at Gayle. US Marshals suddenly appear, summoned by the ankle monitor that James has worn past the county line.
Barrow's computer proves that James was framed. Barrow, Gayle and Alissa are taken away by the Marshals, while James is arrested for his unlicensed gun. Darnell's training helps James through his six-month prison sentence - something that Barrow is unprepared for as he is quickly attacked by inmates when his own lengthy San Quentin sentence begins. James spends his sentence helping the FBI retrieve all the assets that Barrow stole, while guiding Darnell's investments so that he and Rita are able to open their own carwash.
As Darnell drives James home after his release, James celebrates his freedom with a Wall Street Journal and a forty, which he now considers a perfect Sunday.
- Will Ferrell as James King
- Kevin Hart as Darnell Lewis
- Craig T. Nelson as Martin Barrow
- Alison Brie as Alissa Barrow
- Edwina Findley as Rita Lewis
- Ariana Neal as Makayla Lewis
- Erick Chavarria as Cecelio
- T.I. as Russell (credited as Tip 'T.I.' Harris)
- Greg Germann as Peter Penny
- Paul Ben-Victor as Gayle
- John Mayer as himself
- Dominique Perry as Shonda
On December 7, 2012, it was announced that Warner Bros. was in talks to acquire the film written by Ian Roberts and Jay Martel, while Adam McKay and Will Ferrell's Gary Sanchez Productions would produce. On September 17, 2013 Etan Cohen was set to direct. On February 24, 2014, Warner Bros set the film for a March 27, 2015 release.
On December 7, 2012, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart were attached to starring roles. On February 26, 2014, it was announced Craig T. Nelson had joined the cast to play Martin Barrow, the founder of Barrow Funds (Ferrell's character's boss) and also the father of Ferrell's character's fiancee. On March 17, 2014 Alison Brie signed on to star, playing the fiancee of Ferrell's character. On March 21, 2014, Edwina Findley joined the cast to play Rita Hudson, wife to Hart's character. On March 24, 2014 Dan Bakkedahl joined the cast to play Rick, Ferrell's hated enemy at their office. On March 25, 2014 T.I. joined the cast, playing a character named Russell, Hart's character's streetwise cousin.
Principal photography began on March 17, 2014 in New Orleans, and ended on May 14, 2014. The film was somewhat controversial with some perceiving that it was playing into race related stereotypes. During some scenes Cohen asked Hart's opinion on how some jokes would be perceived by African American audiences and made some changes accordingly. Warner Brothers and Cohen also performed extensive testing to make sure the humor came across well.
Get Hard grossed $90.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, and $21.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $111.7 million against a budget of $40 million.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $33.8 million, coming in second place at the box office behind Home ($52.1 million). It was Ferrell's third-highest opening for a live-action film, behind Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby ($47 million) and The Other Guys ($35.5 million), and passed the following December by Daddy's Home ($38.7 million).
Get Hard has received generally negative reviews, with many critics citing the film's overuse of racial jokes. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 30% approval rating, based on 153 reviews, with an average rating of 4.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A waste of two fine funnymen, Get Hard settles for tired and offensive gags instead of tapping into its premise's boundary-pushing potential." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 34 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
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