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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

From the big house to the Big House

Get Hard (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

White millionaire James King (Will Ferrell) awakens at 6:45 in his Bel Air mansion to soft classical music, his doting fiancée Alissa (Alison Brie) by his (“My big strong fiancé”) side, and his "bible" on the night­stand, titled Money. A bevy of servants tend to his every need. He's on easy street.

Across town an insistent African-American Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) gets turned down on a house loan, for lack of collateral. He wants a different environ­ment for his young daughter Makayla (Ariana Neal) than her Lower South Central school with its metal detectors, police guard, and who knows what else. Life is hard.

A split screen conveys their two different lives. When the FBI busts the King for fraud & embezzle­ment, and the judge sentences him to ten years in San Quentin, he hires his car washer Darnell to harden him for prison life. Darnell puts together “My Prison Readiness Program” that as the 30 days tick by till he goes in, we perceive is too little, too late (“Your training is not going well.”) But it's enough for a lot of laughs.


A section of Proverbs corresponds well to the course of events. (Prov. 27:1) “Boast not thy­self of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” James is preparing to get married, move into fancier digs, and pull down a partner's salary when the boom drops on him.

(Prov. 27:2) “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” He'll need some kind of reference to make it with a prison gang, the only way he'll survive on the inside (“Inside it's all about color.”)

(Prov. 27:3) “A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.” James does bench presses using Darnell as the human weight even though he has a fully equipped gym—I never did figure that one out. Darnell is even heavier leaning on the loan officer when he can't get a loan.

(Prov. 27:4) “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” It's class envy that drives the plot, at least as far as Darnell is concerned.

(Prov. 27:5) “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” Darnell's wife Rita (Edwina Findley) plainly points out to him that he's the least thuggish person she knows, never been to prison, never even had a traffic ticket. What does he know about the hardness of prison life?

(Prov. 27:6) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” I'd like to cringe when under Darnell's tutelage, James was going up to muscled strangers in the park to provoke fights with them, fights that he was bound to lose in the worst way. It was, however, James's boss Martin's (Craig T. Nelson) reassur­ances that he's got a team of investigators working on finding the true culprit, which took the cake. Yeah, right!

(Prov. 27:7) “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” James's spoiled rich kid fiancée Alissa was dissatisfied with the palatial home they were living in. James, how­ever, was delighted to take up residence in a make­shift cell in the wine cellar to prepare him for what was to come.

(Prov. 27:8) “As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.” Like a fish out of water is a white collar criminal in San Quentin.

(Prov. 27:9) “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.” James walking the “yard” that used to be his tennis court says he'll miss smelling the flowers in prison. But he's enjoying the hearty counsel of his new friend.

(Prov. 27:10) “Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” Darnell avails him­self of the friend­ship of his cousin Russell (rapper, producer & actor T.I.) and his gang of the Crenshaw Kings. If James's boss is the “dad” who was never there for him, what does that make James's fiancée who is the boss's daughter, his "sister"? Regardless, she's not going to be there for him.

against affirmative action header

In order to gain Mayo—“my gang name”—creds with The Alliance of Whites, Darnell asks James to, “Call me the n-word.” So much difficulty has James articulating it that Darnell has him string together the mid-leg joint (knee) and the sound of a growling dog (grr.) This after Darnell has given him permission to call him that.

A little reflection shows that to be the result of comparing apples with oranges. The “n-word” designation was derived by analogy from the "f-word." The f-word is considered usually vulgar or obscene in all its senses. The n-word is usually taken as offensive except in its sense of a member of a socially dis­advan­taged class—Webster—(e.g. Women are the niggers of the world—John Lennon). Since Darnell had given James permission to call him the n-word, he could have without giving offense. But even had he been in company that takes no offense at the f-word, that one would still be obscene of vulgar on his lips. Apple and oranges.

By comparison the word c'mon can some­times be taken offensively, and some­times not. When an old man with a walker had it become entangled in a wheel chair seat belt on the bus I was riding on this morning, he jerked it, saying, “C'mon!” In one of Brian McGrory's novels, he has some­one say, “Sure, c'mon” (108). Just because it's used offen­sively sometimes, doesn't mean it's that way every time. In the black gang in this movie, they were all the time calling each other “nigger.”

The ‘n’ word in English comes from nègre French for ‘black’ as also Negro is Spanish for ‘black’ (and similar words in Italian and Portuguese.) They both derive from niger that is Latin for ‘black’. It's in the Bible, Acts 13:1.

In “Get Hard” is a true N word from repeated mention of the movie “Boyz N The Hood” where the letter N is a whole word unto itself (cf rock 'n' roll.) There's also a true C word from the punning name of Martin's yacht Sea Note, and James flashing $100 bills under the nose of Darnell. There's a C word for black in the Bible, too. Researcher Bodie Hodge confirms that “As a general trend, Ham is the father of many peoples in Africa” (122). Dr. Ide adds, “Ham sired four sons: Cush (translates as ‘black’) … and Canaan the youngest” (62). These have their origins, (Gen. 6:10) “And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” These three sons of Noah fathered the whole human race alive today. From Shem came White Europeans (and others). Ham's descendants settled largely in Africa becoming the black races. Researcher Mark DeWayne Combs posits that, “Although [the book of] Jasher specific­ally references the births of Japheth and Shem, there is no such reference to the birth of Ham. … that Ham may have been much younger than his brothers and that he may have had a different mother” (389). (See my review of “Project Almanac” for a fuller explanation.) Combs also observes, “Fathering a child, particularly a son, through a hand­maiden or servant girl would not have been an uncommon or forbidden practice in that time period” (165). Prof. Stampp remarks that “Apologists for slavery traced the history of servitude back to the dawn of civilization and showed that it had always existed in some form until their own day” (14).

After the Flood there was an incident, Gen. 9:20-22, where Ham had violated Noah in some way, Gen. 9:24. Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japheth, did better Gen. 9:23. Noah's curse puts Ham's youngest son Canaan in a position of servitude, Gen. 9:25. Noah's other two sons Shem, Gen. 9:26, and Japheth by integration, Gen. 9:27, were blessed by Noah. The split screen near the beginning of the movie showed the difference between the blessed life and the hard one. James a stock­broker familiar with statistics pegs Darnell as an ex-con because he's black and a third of all black males spend time in prison. Not a good case, that, but a third of Noah's sons (and their offspring) were relegated to a harder life, and James got that (black) third right anyway. That this third wants to promote them­selves to African from origins that predated their move to there, is just the kind of promotion, (Prov. 30:21-22) “The earth is disquieted, and … cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth,” that stresses out society with political correctness, flustering James in his attempt to say “nigger.”

Production Values

Get Hard” (2015) was directed by Etan Cohen. It was written by Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Etan Cohen, and Adam McKay. It stars Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Tip “T.I.” Harris, and Craig T. Nelson. They kept in character during a fast-paced plot.

MPAA rated it R for pervasive crude and sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug material. Filming location was New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Run­time was 100 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Get Hard” plays well as both comedy and satire but introduces jokes and situations that some may find offensive. Personally, it was all I could do to keep up with the lightning fast plot. What­ever faults it had in its delivery, I didn't have time to ponder. The two leads acted according to type, so see them if that's what you like. The racial material was layered on thick. So were the crude jokes. I don't recommend it for family viewing or for the politically sensitive, but it should set well with jocks and people out for basic ya-ya's.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: None of the Above. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Three and a half stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scriptures cited from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Combs, Mark DeWayne. End the Beginning. USA: Splinter in the Mind's Eye Pub., 2014. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.

McGrory, Brian. The Nominee. New York: Atria Books, 2002. Print.

Stampp, Kenneth M., Professor of American History at the University of California (Berkeley).
   The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South. Vintage Books, 1955. Print.