Team up Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart for the first time in anything and it’s got to be funny, right? You’d think. But Get Hard, with Ferrell as James King, a hedge-fund manager railroaded into prison for fraud, and Hart as Darnell Lewis, a car washer James hires to prep him for 10 years in San Quentin, commits the cardinal sin of comedy: It lets us see the sweat, the backbreaking effort of trying to breathe life into a farce based on racial and gay stereotyping. These two comic wizards huff and puff to keep the laughs airborne. But there’s no helium in this balloon. It’s one joke stretched beyond endurance. The joke being that James thinks Darnell has done time because he’s black, but Darnell is really a straight-ass family man with no record. Burn.
Which brings us to the dick gags. Get Hard takes a swing at getting doughy James in physical shape to act gangsta behind bars. But the DOA script, which first-time director Etan Cohen co-wrote with Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, revels most in gay panic. James must learn to suck cock. In a toilet stall, James contorts his mouth to make contact with the penis of a stranger (Matt Walsh of Veep). No go. James finds it easier keister-ing, which means shoving objects — a gun, a shiv — up his ever-expanding anus. These are the laughs, folks. Cohen, who shared credit on the script for the excellent Tropic Thunder, can’t seem to get a rhythm going – scenes drag out or end abruptly. It’s not easy hanging talents like Ferrell and Hart out to dry. But Get Hard gets the job done. It’s one limp noodle.