Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review - The Hammer

A smart-mouthed underachieving southern california construction worker, who teaches boxing classes in the evenings, has just been fired from his construction job and dumped by his girlfriend all on his 40th birthday. Jerry Ferro who was once a promising amateur boxer in his twenties, suddenly see's his boxing career re-sparked when he knocks out a prosective professional boxer at his local gym.

Charles Herman-Wurmfeld directs a very mundane and delightly comical film that Adam Carolla created himself. Carolla clearly had help writing the screenplay, but the film is one hundred percent Adam's movie. The jokes, one can tell, Adam wrote. All of the dialogue from Ferro's character in the film, is long-winded like the "Ace" man, as he calls himself on his 97.1 FM radio show. Furthermore, like Adam Carolla, this film drips of sarcasm, it seems like every other scene has Carolla's character Jerry Ferro waxing on about something that frustrates him endlessly. That said, it was entertaining throughout!

Adam Carolla does a good job as Jerry Ferro, a character that seems way too reminiscent of Carolla himself. Ferro is a very quick-tongued middle aged man who seems to have something to say about everything. I cant say Carolla impressed me with the character or showed some amazing acting chops, because he just played himself. However, Carolla is a true funny man and to see him do his normal routine in a film was a pleasant surprise. Carolla's deliveries throughout this film really show his comedic timing. His dead pan humor was flawless and there were countless scenes that had me laughing extremely hard at his sarcastic quip's of society. Again the dialogue and humor Carolla puts on screen is great.

The standout performance in this indie comedy is Oswaldo Castillo. If you listen to Adam Carolla's radio show, you know who he is. Oswaldo Castillo plays Oswaldo Sanchez from Nicaragua, so not a big strecth here either, but Oswaldo comes off as Napoleon Dynamite and his best friend Pedro put together into one. His performance is so funny, all of his dialogue is pure comedic gold. Oswaldo has the thickest accent you'll ever hear and Carolla uses it to make his character abosultely hysterical. The cherry on the top, was seeing a glimsp into Oswaldo's family, "Nicaragua!!!"

The Hammer works on a few different levels. It is a very simple story, sorta a poor man's Rocky Balboa. It has alot of heart and oodles of sarcasm. Carolla feels natural on-screen and plays a very likable shlub. Most of the characters work throughout the film and nothing really feels forced. All of the boxing scenes were good and the camera work on the Ferro's feet were impressive. The dialogue that was written is really fun and I am sure Carolla has a suicide cut that was like 6 hours of him ranting about some avenue of society that drives him crazy. It is overall a fun indie comedy and doesn't try to over achieve.

The downsides, it was nothing new. While the story was good and has a beginning, middle, and end. The film still feels like it goes nowhere. It wasn't like, Wow, I want to see more of Carolla doing long-winded rants about driving too slow on the freeway. While I like his humor and find it hysterical, it can be a bit much at times and took away from the film slightly. The girlfriend aspect of the film proved to be annoying. The character could have been excluded altogether and instead included more of Ferro's boxing class he taught. That was extremely good stuff and I wanted more of it.

Finally, The Hammer is a small indie film that feels very simple, but still has a ton of heart while dripping of sarcasm. Don't expect this to be in your top ten of sport films, but it is a nice acquistion to any movie collection that can be pulled out and enjoyed on a frequent level. Like the tagline says, "Some guys don't know their destiny till it hits them in the face!"