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The Hammer (2007)
"It's ACTUALLY REALLY good!"
Adam has commented on his show about the slight insult associated with people giving him good reviews and compliments with qualifying comments like "actually good" and "surprisingly funny", and followed with, "No, really, its REALLY actually good". Although I don't think Adam should take too much offense as I believe their surprise is a reflection on the low expectations of comedic films recently as much as those who may be surprised that they like Adam Carolla more than they originally thought, as Adam creates a character who is easy to relate to in a film that is easily accessible to many people. And the reason it is accessible is that it is a good movie with a good script and good acting and good jokes. It does not need to rely on what Hollywood considers a proved formula or proved actor.
The Hammer is a good movie. I know that sounds like a generic compliment but in my opinion it is really hard to find a smart comedy that is also a genuinely good movie nowadays. The story is original. The tone is easy going and is confident in it's purpose and saves you the pain of sitting through a comedy that tries too hard to be funny. This is not the best movie you have seen all year, but it will definitely entertain, make you laugh, make you think and you will leave the theater feeling like your $7-10 you spent was well worth it. The material is laugh out loud funny with some of the dry wit, creative complaints and analytical commentary on life that fans of Adam are used to. My wife, who is not a big fan of Adam, loved the movie and thought it was well written. She also enjoyed Oswaldo "Ozzie" Castillo, who is charming and funny as his Nicaraguan friend. The role came naturally for him as Ozzie is Adam's friend in real life and worked construction with him back in his pre-celebrity days.
It seems like all of the really funny and smart comedy has always come from someone who is given a blank slate and allowed to do more or less whatever they want without much interference or censorship. By this I am referring to shows such as Family Guy, South Park, Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld and movies such as Anchorman, Ace Ventura, The Jerk, Swingers, Clerks, etc. What all of these have in common is that they start out being small enough and done cheap enough so that TV/studio executives don't care enough to get overly involved in. Or in some cases the star is proved to be funny in stand-up or TV but they are given a shot to do what they want in their first movie as long as it is done cheap to see how it goes. Either way, they are allowed to be original, daring and edgy without the people funding it insisting on the "safe" formula. The catch is that because they start out small, they need to fight to get a good footing and gain an audience. The Hammer is this movie that needs to fight for the audience it deserves for Adam Carolla.
For those familiar with Adam Carolla and his radio show, it is exactly what all the good reviews and discussion on the show lead you to believe about the movie. For those of you who don't know, Adam paid to distribute the movie himself due to the problems he ran into with distributors who passed on a movie that does not fit into a cookie-cutter formula. And we have all seen what "proven" box office comedic actors have yielded lately. There is a mile-long list of crap put out by the likes of the Adam Sandler/SNL crew, Dane Cook and the Wayans Brothers milking the Scary Movie formula as many times as the studio will let them. One of the main reasons distributors passed on the movie was that it was appealing to "too many" people and could not be easily marketed to a "target audience", which ironically is a negative for them. This is true, as many people young and old, mean and women, were in the theater and everyone was laughing. Half of the audience actually clapped at the end which is a rarity nowadays.
Therefore this movie needs the support of a good first week and word-of-mouth advertising to gain a foothold and be a stick-it-to-the-man indie movie victory. If movies like The Hammer don't get support it deserves, it is just more justification for studios and distributors not to support anything beyond the usual repetitive crap you see in theaters.
So do yourself a favor and go see it in theaters, and if you are reading this after it has already gone to DVD then pick it up and check it out. You will definitely see a good and worthwhile movie and one of two things will happen. A) You can see it early then tell others about it and be one of those people who "discover" a good thing early and can tell people "I saw it back when..." once it becomes a hit, like a band you discovered early and watched rise to stardom. Or B) You can hold it as one of those nice little "secrets" and you can be part of an exclusive club of people with good taste, much like a good Italian restaurant not many people know about and you are kind of glad people don't know so it can be "yours", and you can always get a seat without waiting.