INCLUDES "ONE OF THE BEST PARODIES OF ITS KIND SINCE 'BE BLACK BABY' SEQUENCE IN 'Hi, MOM!'"
From Armond White's review of Etan Coen's Get Hard, posted at National Review:
"[Get Hard] centers on the story of 'incarceration expert' Darnell Lewis (Kevin] Hart), who prepares convicted executive James King (Will Ferrell) to serve his upcoming sentence for fraud; the premise is winningly smart, unflinching, and ideologically complicated.
"Lewis in fact is a law-abiding black family man who wants to finance his own car-wash business. He is only pretending to be an ex-con, but King, an aloof white millionaire who lives in a Hollywood mansion, willingly believes Lewis’s miscreant shtick.
"With 30 days to go before King’s prison sentence begins, Lewis and King riff on a masculine survival crash course. The title comically alludes to a cultural shift in values since Bob Rafelson’s 1975 Stay Hungry: A defensive coarsening replaces the former all-American drive to succeed; the reference to erection suggests that we now pornographically fetishize macho traits. These traits include language, dress, and grooming styles from baldness to beards that have trickled upward from prison subculture. As Ferrell’s King learns to cuss, fight, and display “mad-dogging” facial expressions, he relishes “an ambrosia of primal sensations.” ... It’s the perfectly clueless flip side of Hart’s Lewis admitting “I don’t have to be a thug to portray a thug.”
"Though Get Hard is a minor film, it’s pertinent social satire. It reveals how easily The Wire’s stereotypes can arouse predictable responses, including the usually unacknowledged mix of fear and pleasure — satirized adroitly by Hart, Ferrell, and writer-director Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder). King has the statistic “one in three black men will find themselves incarcerated” in his head along with the usual attendant fantasies. The frequently, shamelessly, hilariously nude Ferrell makes himself the exposed buffoon-victim of racial and political stereotypes, as he haplessly mimes the black thug of popular imagination — one of the best parodies of its kind since the 'Be Black Baby' sequence in Brian De Palma’s 1970 Hi, Mom!"