“If you’re disturbed by white-collar crime, but not quite as disturbed as you are by gay sex, then congratulations: You might possess just the right combo of social conscience and unexamined homophobia needed to fully enjoy Get Hard.” That’s the opening line from Variety’s review of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart’s new buddy comedy, and it sums up much of the critical backlash since the film premiered at SXSW. Ferrell and Hart have responded to these accusations to varying degrees of success this week, but the most interesting coverage comes from HitFix’s Louis Virtel, who confronted the guys about the issue head-on:
“You’re both very smart, funny people. During the filming of the movie, between the scene where you [Hart] kind of do a mockingly effeminate voice and you [Ferrell] gag at the sight of a dick as if it’s the worst thing that could happen to a straight guy – a gay situation – did you think this is mildly-mean spirited, or at the very least, a little bit dated?”
In response, Hart insists that “funny is funny” and Ferrell says the film is about a “societal norm” and earned a standing ovation at SXSW (which is true, but it happened before the film screened, so there’s that). Get Hard premieres in theaters this Friday, so only time will tell whether or not viewers agree with the current critical backlash. To be fair, not all critics think Get Hard is an “absolutely horrible, amateurishly assembled comedy that is more offensive than just about anything we’ve seen lately” – some say that it’s “just disappointing,” “unimaginative,” and “dumb and dated.” Yikes.