Movie Review: The Hammer

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Dennis suggests The Hammer (in Comedy). One might be forgiven for taking one look at this one and passing on and forgetting it immediately; the comic story of a 40 year old carpenter/former boxer who decides to try out for the Olympics starring former ‘Lovelines’ and ‘The Man Show’ comic the toothy, snarky Adam Carolla, the set-up smacks of one of those SNL one-joke premises that make the world about 4% worse for everyone. Well, once in a while, the universe gives you a little present in the form of something being a lot better than you expected it to be, and The Hammer is a good, little movie. Weirdly enough, it’s because of Carolla, who I’ve always found sort of amusing, but never, ever thought of as leading man material. He pulls it off here because of the nicely low-key authenticity he brings to the role of a 40 year old, underachieving carpenter (Carolla was one) and former Gold Gloves boxer (he was that too) who decides, when one last opportunity opens itself up to him, to take a chance on himself. (The movie’s training scenes also take place in a gym that Carolla and his real life pal (and delightfully Sancho Panza-esque costar) Oswaldo Castillo renovated when they were on the job). Carolla is believable as a boxer and as a genuinely sweet, if smart-assed, underdog. And he even gets the girl (a nicely age-appropriate and sane Heather Juergensen [the only other ‘name’ actor in the film- you might remember her from Kissing Jessica Stein]), all while keeping his feet moving and his guard up to avoid the twin menaces of sentimentality and cynicism. Carolla’s got wit (his ad-libbed comments fit perfectly with his character) and a surprising amount of charm. This is a good movie. Don’t that beat all..

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Published in: on June 14, 2009 at 4:54 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. I’m totally with you on this one, my admitted weakness for uplifting sports movies aside. I actively disliked Carolla before this movie, but this movie forced me to reevaluate my opinion somewhat. I thought he actually gave a real performance here, low-key without phoning it in, and delivering his usual laconic one-liners without overrelying on them. Seems like word of mouth is overwhelmingly positive across the board so hopefully there’s cult potential here.


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