biggest surprise about radio jock/comedian/dancing star Adam Carolla's
starring film debut is that despite a very clichéd, horribly dumb story line, it really
it's actually pretty good.
saying that as a put-down to Carolla. I'm actually a big fan.
He's a very funny guy, but subtlety and... you know... acting seemed
a little out of the snarkmaster's range.
The Hammer works for much the same reason that Carolla's old friend and
The Man Show partner Jimmy Kimmel's talk show works. He is not
afraid to be completely politically incorrect, sometimes unlikable,
completely over the top and at the same time oddly human. He takes
things that seem obvious and overdone and completely subverts them.
What it is
mostly subverting, though, is Rocky Balboa. In fact, to a
certain extent it is that film played for laughs - with a touch of
The Natural, The Rookie and Invincible tossed in for good
measure. The laughs are not always as good as they should be, but
there are enough to keep you watching.
plays Jerry "The Hammer" Ferro, a forty-year-old former Golden Gloves Boxer
who now works as a carpenter and picks up some side revenue teaching a few
boxing classes. (In real life, Carolla was a boxing instructor before
breaking in to show biz, so he pulls off the boxing scenes with skill).
Jerry is smart, funny and completely happy to float through life with no
goals or ambitions.
changes on his 40th birthday, in which he impulsively gets himself fired
from his carpentry job, loses his longtime girlfriend (Constance Zimmer) and
then happens to be seen fighting by a boxing trainer (Tom Quinn) who
suggests that he may have a chance to make it to the Olympics if he just got
back into shape.
starts training for the tryouts and gets into a contentious relationship
with an up-and-coming boxer (Harold House Moore). He also starts in on
a sweet-but-entirely-unrealistic courtly relationship with a cute woman
(Heather Juergensen) who is taking one of his boxing classes.
a very funny comedian, and as was mentioned earlier, he has the skills to
play a boxer. As far as an actual actor, Carolla isn't overly
talented. He has the comedian's acting curse - everything is a joke
for him so it's played on a very surface level for maximum snideness.
Then again, this is The Hammer not Hamlet, so perhaps great
chops as a thespian are kind of beside the point. You see Jerry as a
wisecracking standup comic throughout, but enough of his wisecracks are
clever that you can forgive the lack of shading and subtlety.
said, there is no real reason this movie should work. It is a way
overdone storyline. Boxing is rather passé in the modern world
(mixed martial arts, anybody?). It has a non-professional actor in its
lead role. The characters and humor are broad and the love story feels
forced. Even if you did have hopes for it, there is also the concern
that it was only given a cursory theatrical run before getting snuck out on
somehow, the movie does mostly work. No one will ever confuse The
Hammer with a masterpiece, however it is legitimately funny through most
of the running time. That is all it really needs to achieve.
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: June 15, 2008.