Road Hard (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
ROAD HARD (2015)
Starring Adam Carolla, Diane Farr, Jay Mohr, Cynthy Wu, David Koechner, David Alan Grier, Philip Rosenthal, Larry Miller, Illeana Douglas, Dana Gould, Howie Mandel, Brooke Smith, Robyn Cohen, Jim O’Heir and Alison Rosen.
Screenplay by Adam Carolla and Kevin Hench.
Directed by Adam Carolla and Kevin Hench.
Distributed by FilmBuff. 98 minutes. Not Rated.
Adam Carolla has been complaining for years on his popular podcast about what a drag life on the road is.
In his second self-funded independent film, Carolla stays close to what he knows. Both this film and 2007’s The Hammer – which is also in our reviews section – Carolla uses his life as the jumping off point. His characters tend to share many quirks – and career highlights – with Carolla, though they tend to have landed in harder times than their inspiration.
Road Hard, which Carolla co-wrote and co-directed with longtime collaborator Kevin Hench, tells the story of Bruce Marsden, an aging stand-up comedian who once was the cohost of a popular series called The Bro Show and also did a bad reality series called Celebrity Barn Raising. (Carolla himself had been co-host of The Man Show and been on Celebrity Apprentice.) His old Bro Show co-host (played by Jay Mohr) has become a big late night star (much like Carolla’s old Man Show co-host Jimmy Kimmel).
However, Marsden has hit on harder times than Carolla ever did, not having a popular podcast and a couple of best-selling books to prop him up. Therefore Marsden has to hit the road, playing a series of soul-deadening one-night gigs at comedy clubs all over the country, where fans only want to talk about things he did fifteen years before.
Road Hard is a pretty enjoyable look at life behind the scenes in the world of stand-up comedians, but I’m not going to lie, I don’t see it catching on with a big audience that was not already following Carolla. He makes many of the same points on his podcast, and often more entertainingly.
Part of the problem is that Marsden is just too hang-dog depressed and angry about everything. While that curmudgeonly streak is part of Carolla’s comic charm (in a recent interview I did with him, he admitted, “I think everyone thinks I’m a douche bag”) it can get to be a bit of overload in a 98 minute film.
Also, sadly, with all this great comic talent, the stand-up scenes were just okay. Adam Carolla the comic can kill, but Adam Carolla the screenwriter did not give his character enough top-shelf material in the club scenes.
Still, while he’s not exactly a great actor, Carolla is a likeable presence and appears to be a good guy and you want to see him succeed, on film and behind the camera. Carolla is trying his best to entertain you, and this low-budget production (partially produced through crowdfunding) he is giving his all. And a lot of his famous friends show up to lend a hand.
Road Hard isn’t a great movie, but it mostly is a fun one.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 6, 2015.
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