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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like Billy Elliot, this is a film full of strong language that their kids have probably already heard elsewhere -- and a positive message that they should hear, too. Most of the movie's violence is in the context of boxing, which is depicted without glamour or gore as an athletic competition with rules and regulations. There's some drinking and kissing, but really the main content issue here is the language. That said, while the language is rude and pervasive (expect everything from "f--k" to "gay" and more), the film's characters and message -- work hard for your dreams -- are surprisingly positive.
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What's the story?
Jerry (Adam Carolla) was once a pretty good Golden Gloves boxer; now, he's a contractor who teaches boxing at a gym on the side. A chance encounter with a up-and-coming pro fighter leads to a sparring match and a lucky knockout, with 40-year-old Jerry surprising everyone, including himself. A veteran coach suggests that Jerry enter the upcoming amateur trials to qualify for the Olympic team; Jerry goes for it, bonding with hot young prospect Robert Brown (Harold House Moore) and starting a romance with lawyer Lindsay (Heather Juergensen) as well. But at what point do you have to wake up from following your dreams? And are some of the people pulling for Jerry just pulling his leg?
Is it any good?
Carolla's Jerry may be a battered and beaten boxer, but he's a surprisingly appealing lead. And the film manages to be inspirational and clear-eyed about Jerry's prospects. Carolla and Juergensen have a nice, easy chemistry, and director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld has a light touch that serves this low-budget, shot-on-video comedy nicely. Carolla receives story credit; a former contractor himself, he entered show business late in life before becoming a radio (Loveline) and TV (The Man Show) host, so he's certainly in touch with Jerry's doubts and aspirations.
Loose, light, and low-key, THE HAMMER is a funny, character-driven indie comedy that, like Jerry, has a surprising amount of heart hidden behind its worn exterior.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the nature of boxing movies. What do they often have in common? How is this one different? Does the fact that it's a comedy instead of a drama change the messages it sends? If so, how? Families can also discuss the kind of hard work and sacrifice that following your dreams can truly require.
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