Plot: What’s it about?
Will Ferrell is one of those people that you can’t take seriously. Ever. The man has a gift and he knows how to use it. I was a longtime fan of his during his stint on SNL and he embodied nearly every character he played, from Alex Trebek to a perpetually tipsy James Lipton. His leap to feature films was with one of his SNL skits – A Night at the Roxbury. Granted it wasn’t the best, but we all knew he was destined for bigger and better things. After some smaller roles in more successfully films like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Zoolander, he finally hit it big in 2003’s Old School and later that year with the now “classic” Elf. One thing I’ve always admired about Ferrell is that he’s not totally tied to feature films. He’s appeared on HBO’s Eastbound and Down as well as the US version of The Office. More recently, he and co-star Kristen Wiig made a Lifetime movie – A Deadly Adoption. Truthfully the guy must be a bit crazy to do some of the things that he does, but hey – he makes me (and countless others) laugh.
Ferrell plays James, a fund manager who seems to have the midas touch. He’s worth countless millions, has it all including a soon to be bride, Alissa (Alison Brie). However everything comes crashing down around him when he’s busted for fraud, of which he’s innocent. He’s sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin and has 30 days to get his affairs in order before he’s shipped off to his new life. Wanting to make the most of his stint in prison, James enlists the help of Darnell (Kevin Hart), who owns a business washing executives’ cars. James assumes that Darnell has been to prison and wants a crash course in what it’ll take to survive. Unbeknownst to James, Darnell’s lived a straight-forward life, though he needs what James is willing to pay him to purchase a new house. Over the course of the next month, we see James go through varying stages of “toughness” while Darnell has to keep up the charade. Will this training pay off or is James destined to be someone’s bitch in the big house?
Putting these two in a film was a stroke of genius. Yes, Kevin Hart is pretty much everywhere these days and I really enjoyed him in The Wedding Ringer. However he coupled with Will Ferrell was nearly too much to handle. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions and I can’t imagine that either one of these guys stuck to the script. Then again, I’m sure that was the point. Ferrell and Hart work well with one another leaving every other co-star in the dust. Heck, even the physical size difference between the two (Ferrell is 6’3″ and Hart is 5’2″) is funny! But this isn’t one for the little ones, as the two really put the “R” in the rating and even more so with the unrated cut which features a scene that’s, well…it’s probably best experienced with as little explanation as I can offer. Fans of Ferrell or Hart will be right at home here and given the success of the movie, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a sequel in the works.
Video: How’s it look?
I had to do a double take when I saw that this was presented in a 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer. Most films stretch the boundaries of the screen, but it’s nice to see a movie fill up the entire 16:9 area every once in a while. Having said that, the movie is new to Blu-ray and we all know what to expect. Detail is amazing and that was very welcome when we see Alison Brie wearing lingerie trying to seduce her husband (do you hear me complaining)? Colors are bright and vivid, the blue sky of Los Angeles contrasts well with the colorful landscape of the suburbs. I really couldn’t find much, if anything, to complain about here – again, we all know how this will look so I won’t go into any further detail trying to explain what we already know.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included DTS HD Master Audio sound mix is pretty consistent with a comedy. Vocals are strong and well-centered and Hart’s trademark fast-talking schtick meshes well with Ferrell’s more “prim and proper” dialogue. There are a few ambient sound effects spit out by the surrounds, but the majority of the mix is front heavy and it still works very well. Fans of John Mayer (admit it, you’re out there) will be happy as the duet with him and Ferrell does sound pretty nice. This certainly isn’t the best-sounding mix I’ve heard, but it works well for what it is. I highly doubt that anyone will be disappointed with the way this sounds.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There are a lot of smaller featureless here, but nothing of a lot of substance. Still, they are in tune with the theme of the film so let’s take a look.
- Gag Reel – Several scenes are shown with selected outtakes. Normally as a stand alone feature, this would be a nice inclusion, but with all of the other features included – this kind of blends in.
- Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow – I won’t go into too much detail here, but that scene I referred to above has its own featurette, so we get some improved lines by Ferrell as he musters up the courage to, well…I’ll leave it at that.
- Line-O-Ramas – I’m usually not a fan of these “O-Rama’s” but I have to admit that a few of these are pretty entertaining.
- Swear-O-Rama – Will Ferrell can’t sear for S#%@! Ferrell ad libs on a few lines, but mainly it’s a preponderance of the “F” word. Hey, it delivers what it says.
Pickup-O-Rama – The pressure mounts at a gay brunch spot. A few altered takes at a local pickup location with Hart explaining who his ideal man would be.
Shiv-O-Rama – Will Ferrell doesn’t miss a beat. Several variations and improvs with Ferrell and Hart as Ferrell’s character is being driven to the hospital.
Cry A River-O-Rama – Will Ferrell misses his corporate suite. A series of alternate scenes with Ferrell’s character crying at his situation. These take place in various locations in and around his estate.
The Bottom Line
In a sea of unforgettable comedies, I think this is one that I’ll watch a couple times a year. Both Hart and Ferrell are in fine form and though a bit raunchy at time, I found myself gasping for breath. The Blu-ray offers up outstanding video and audio as well as a fair share of supplements. Fans of the film shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up.