Road Hard

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Road Hard Movie Poster Image
Cynical look at showbiz is really crude but has some laughs.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 98 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Vaguely urges viewers to follow their heart and stop doing things that make them miserable, but the main character isn't very good at following this advice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is extremely vulgar, unhappy, and unpleasant.

Violence

Arguments, verbal confrontations.

Sex

Several topless women around a swimming pool. Another swims underwater. Woman removing her bikini. A drunk woman in bra and panties promises oral sex but throws up; her bra is partly falling off, one exposed breast. Kissing; suggestion of sex between the main character and his love interest. Very, very strong sexual innuendo and humor throughout. References to masturbating, "swallowing," "trannies," "fluffers," etc.

Language

Constant extreme language: "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "a--hole," "t-ts," "bitch," "ass," "ballsack," "retarded," "hard-on," "d--k," "idiot."

Consumerism

Cans of Coke. Range Rover.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character is shown drinking fairly frequently (wine, beer, whisky). He never appears drunk, but other characters do. Main character also smokes a cigarette in a hotel bathroom.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Road Hard is an extremely vulgar comedy co-written and co-directed by and starring Adam Carolla, based loosely on his own showbiz experiences. Characters swear constantly ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), and there's tons of sexual innuendo. In several scenes, topless women are seen sitting around a big swimming pool; other scenes show partially clad women, too, and there are references to oral sex, masturbation, and much more. In a romantic subplot, the main character and his love interest are shown kissing, and a night of sex is discussed (not shown). Characters drink frequently but aren't shown drunk; some cigarette smoking as well. No overt violence, but there are verbal confrontations and arguments. Fans of Carolla's stand-up comedy and TV work (The Man Show) will likely want to see this, but be warned: It's really crass.

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What's the story?

Comedian Bruce Madsen (Adam Carolla) once had a successful TV series, The Bro Show. But while Bruce's former co-star (Jay Mohr) has gone on to find enormous fame on a talk show, Bruce's career has stalled. He's gone back to the road, performing in small clubs to pay for his alimony and his daughter's college tuition. His agent, "Baby Doll" (Larry Miller), occasionally gets him some demeaning work (hosting a reality show for Howie Mandel), but it all looks hopeless. Everything changes when Bruce meets Sarah (Diane Farr) at a show and realizes that settling down in a small town might be just what he needs. But can he let go of showbiz?

Is it any good?

With help from co-writer and co-director Kevin Hench, Carolla clearly created this crude comedy based on his own trials and tribulations in show business. This insider information -- and the emotions connected to it -- make the movie's world seem genuine, even as the ridiculous and annoying parts of it spur on Bruce's aggressive, acid humor. No moment of absurd behavior is allowed to pass by without comment.

Yet the character is very often unsympathetic; he loudly and frequently complains about his fate, which isn't all that bad (a character points out that he still earns in one night what it will take office workers four months to make), and he routinely fails to take steps to improve his lot. In the similar movies Sleepwalk with Me and Obvious Child, the central comedian creators seemed to have something to say, but Carolla disappointingly wraps things up with a rather conventional romantic happy ending. Still, Road Hard has enough spiky moments to make it worth a watch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Road Hard's attitude toward sex. What's the difference between the sex shown at the agent's house and the sex that the hero experiences? Where does love enter the equation? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • Is Bruce Madsen a likable character? Is he sympathetic? Is he interesting? How does he show or not show these things?

  • Does the movie make show business and comedy look appealing or unappealing? Why do you think people become comedians?

  • How frequently do characters drink? How is drinking portrayed? What are the consequences?

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

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