Saturday, December 19, 2015

ROAD HARD (2015)

Written & Directed By: Adam Carolla & Kevin Hench 
Cinematography By: Marten Tedin 
Editor: Ryan Brown 

Cast: Adam Carolla, David Alan Grier, Diane Farr, Illeana Douglas, Jay Mohr, Philip Rosenthal, David Koechner, Larry Miller, Jim O’Heir, Cynthy Wu, Dana Gould, Sam McMurray, Alison Rosen, Steve Hofsetter, Jimmy Pardo, Howie Mandel

After his movie and television career has run dry, Bruce Madsen (Adam Carolla) is forced to go back on the road playing one dingy comedy club after another, spending endless nights in budget hotel rooms and always flying coach. Amidst trying to revitalize his career, rekindle his love life and put his daughter through college, Bruce knows one thing for sure - he must get off the road. ROAD HARD is the story of that journey. Adam Carolla funded the film by raising $1,435,723 at According to Adam Carolla, in an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he had 14,000 donors to raise the money for this film.

The film’s title is a double entendre that perfectly drones the movie and the character. As we see his hardships and constant displays of manliness also.

Adam Carolla has a quality where he speaks plainly and comes off as intelligent. Though he jokes about not being so smart or educated. He also manages to be vulgar, but still have a charm. His audience might seem to be more the average guy and more the rowdy type, but he can be quite poignant at times and hilarious.

That is his appeal. This is the second film he has written and directed as well as starred in. Here more co-writing and co-directing

As with his previous films it seems written to get a glimpse From the honesty of life as he knows it and has experienced it. Only with this film it seems more of an idealized movie. Rather then a slice of life that it aspires to be.

It is clearly a labor of love about the horror of life on the road for a comic. Taken I am sure from personal experiences and those of his peers. Which is why most of the roles are cast with comedians or recognizable character actors. Also the occasional cameo by well known comedians.

The film is semi-autobiographical but more if Mr. Carolla hadn't found his calling on radio and podcasting. As someone who listens to his podcast. I can recognize some of the parts as biographical as well as including his passions. Such as carpentry.

It just feels formulaic after awhile. At first it seems random and like the film is making a statement by showing us his experience. Then it begins to take shape and show why he does it. Then the films story line kicks in and it goes a familiar route.

The film is humorous but not laugh out loud funny and is shockingly quite dry. No matter at times it tries to go with a more broad humor.

What I do appreciate is that the film shows the mundaness and hardships of not only being a comedian on the road. Including the ridiculous day to day life of hotel life. And clubs trying to steal your money and crowds who came out to see you being unforgiving and knowing way too much about one's personal Life for a general joke to work,

But also what it feels like to be once famous and known for being a certain kind of celebrity and living in the aftermath. Where you are not as famous or successful as people think you are. Living in the shadow of your more famous and successful peer. Who isn't a jerk, but just was luckier and had a plan. Where as you might have though to just coast and that the jobs would come to you.

The film isn't bad it just offers nothing new or surprising. Where as his previous film THE HAMMER had time charms and a surprising depth. That came naturally and almost out of nowhere yet felt organic. Here the film tries to give him a chance to show range, but again it reeks of effort and worse going overboard on the sentimentality. You can see it coming a mile away. Even when it is surrounded by occasional gross out humor. Which makes this film oddly basic and clinical.

It offers no rhythm and no funk. With an absolutely heartwarming but unbelievable ending.

I would more suggest this movie if you are a fan of Adam Carolla. As you get to see him try some range, but if not you aren't missing anything you haven't seen before and I doubt this film will make you a new fan. Instead I highly recommend his first film and directorial debut. THE HAMMER.

Grade: C

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