New Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell Comedy Gets Awkward Premiere at SXSW
As reported by Amy Kaufman in the L.A. Times, Kevin Hart’s newest comedy, Get Hard, co-starring Will Farrell, made its world-premiere Monday night at Austin’s Paramount Theater for SXSW. Despite the goodwill the actors built up before the screening (both were on stage, making yuk-yuks with the crowd), the reaction to the film, which posits Farrell as a rich, white dude busted for a bunch of financial crimes and sentenced to hard time. He hires Hart’s character—whom he naturally assumes has spent time in the joint—to prepare him for his oncoming ordeal.
Apparently, even though it got major laughs throughout the screening, the post-screening Q&A with first-time director Etan Cohen started to go seriously downhill after one patron called the film “offensive.”
“This film seemed racist as … ” started one questioner, using an expletive.
“That’s not a question,” Cohen replied.
“I’m not done,” the filmgoer said.
“Soon you will be,” Cohen retorted.
“Were you nervous — and/or how nervous were you—presenting this in front of a live audience being completely, absolutely and unapologetically … racist and hysterical at the same time?” the questioner finished.
Seeming flustered, Cohen admitted the film’s tone had been “a really hard delicate balance to find.”
Shortly after this brutal exchange, when the audience realized the actors were long gone and not coming back out, they started streaming out of the theater, even with Cohen in mid-answer to another one of their questions.
The film, which opens wide March 27, has also been called out for making light of prison rape and imagining there couldn’t be anything worse than gay sex. Whether or not the comedic stylings of the film outweigh its more offensive-sounding material shall soon be determined in the court of rottentomatoes.com and, naturally, the box office.