The Hammer

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
The Hammer Movie Poster Image
A boxing comedy with a potty mouth and warm heart.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

A clearly racist bully refers to Nicaraguan characters as "beaners" and "wetbacks." A discussion of "going Dutch" for a date leads to a riff about how the Dutch "must be cheap bastards if that what's they're known for." Brief contextual discussions of the difference between Caucasian and African-American athletes. Carolla's character's work to make it to the Olympic boxing trials is shown in detail, and the effort required to fulfill that dream (impractical as it may be) is evident throughout.

Violence

Many boxing matches, including knockouts; some blood and bleeding. Outside of the ring, an angry man takes swings at a dodging Carolla, and one punch is delivered to a deserving bully's jaw. The delineation between the athletic pursuit of boxing and fighting outside the ring is clear.

Sex

Discussion of the idea that boxers should abstain from sex during training; some joking references to sexual potency (here called "chi"). Some kissing as part of a romantic relationship. The affection and care between Carolla and Juergensen's characters is a real part of their relationship.

Language

Pervasive, including several "f---"s and one "motherf---er" also "goddamn," "bitch," "gay" (as a descriptive, but not a pejorative), "balls," "crappy," "piece of s--t," "dips--t," "p---y," "a--hole," "whore," and many others.

Consumerism

Some logos visible, including Mikita power tools, Tecate beer, and Orchard Home Supply, as well as Everlast and other athletic equipment suppliers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some discussion of "crack whores" and "methheads" Carolla's character drinks to excess one time, with clear and vulgar ramifications (hangover-induced vomiting).

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymsdeville April 9, 2008

FINALLY – A Decent Comedy!

I took my husband to see this movie and we both found it to be hilarious. There was plenty of "guy stuff" as well as "girl stuff" (as in lov... Continue reading
Adult Written bygwizz April 9, 2008

Great Movie!!

I loved this movie. It was funny and surprisingly cute. I had heard of the movie on the Adam Carolla Show (mornings on 97.1KSLX) I am not a sports fan and this... Continue reading

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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.

Movie details

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