Ah, gay panic. How I've missed you.
Just kidding. I haven't. The last gay joke I remember laughing at in a movie was when Bradley Cooper shouts, "Paging Dr. Faggot," in The Hangover, and that joke landed for three reasons. First, it was a surprise. Second, it fit perfectly with its well-defined characters. Third, it reminded me of the 1980s when someone could yell such a thing.
But in the 1980s, I was a kid, and as an adult, I don't find jokes rooted in homophobia funny. And it just so happens that Get Hard has—and this is a conservative estimate—14,000 gay jokes.
Apparently in 2015, no one got the memo that it's not funny when someone thinks sucking a dick is the worst thing that can happen to him. Get Hard, despite its cheap reliance on such a trope, doesn't stop there with its transgressions. What's even more offensive than the jokes is the laziness. You're going to hire an actor as funny as Matt Walsh, stick a prosthetic penis on him, and make him look bored while Will Ferrell crouches at his waist and attempts oral sex? As bored as he looked, I was ready for a nap.
But that's how prison comedies go, I guess. Back in the 1980s, Mad magazine did a parody of Three Men and a Baby, and one of things the characters discussed over several panels was how long to make caca and wee- wee jokes before getting into the story. I imagine similar discussions at the screenwriters' offices for Get Hard, just with gay jokes instead of shit jokes.
Of course, the idea is supposed to be that Ferrell's character, James King, an investment banker convicted of embezzlement, is an idiot. Don't bank on most audiences getting that his dum-dumness is where the humor lies.
Luckily, Get Hard has other gags to fall back on. The plot, in which King has 30 days to set his affairs in order before going to prison for 10 years, concerns King hiring Darnell (Kevin Hart) to prep him for prison. King assumes Darnell has been to prison because he's black (that's not inspired, either, but I only have 500 words here).
Darnell isn't a felon. He's a mild-mannered small-business owner looking for a loan to grow his company and purchase a home in a better school district for his daughter. When King offers him cash for a crash course in prison survival, Darnell accepts.
At least Hart and Ferrell have solid comic chemistry. When they're plain being silly—King attempting to bench-press Darnell in order to beef up; Darnell instructing King's house staff to act like prison guards—there are some solid laughs. One good bit has Darnell and King infiltrating a white power biker gang in order for King to buy prison protection.
But it's hard to sift through all that stuff and come out thinking you've spent your 100 minutes wisely. Along with the homophobia, there's also no decent role for any of the women here; I think more women are naked in this movie than have speaking roles.
And now I've exhausted my word count, and I've written this entire thing in first person. See what you made me do, Get Hard? DO YOU SEE? I hope you're happy.
Directed by Etan Cohen
With Ferrell, Hart, and Craig T Nelson
Regal Stadium 14