State of the Art

Hey, Hollywood: You kiss your mother with that mouth?

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart have a frank talk -- TOO frank -- about sexual conditions in prison in “Get Hard.”
Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart have a frank talk -- TOO frank -- about sexual conditions in prison in “Get Hard.” Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Alert to readers: This blog contains an obscenity I never speak in public, especially when kids might hear. It’s used four times in this trailer for “Get Hard,” which ran with the green-band designation “appropriate for all audiences” before a movie I saw recently. Ready?

That’s right. Kevin Hart said, “When life throws you dick, you make dick-ade.” And Will Ferrell replied, “Dick-ade doesn’t sound like a significant improvement over dick.” They had this conversation after an effeminate man sucked down an olive.

I expect this language in red-band trailers, which are restricted and run before R-rated movies. And careless, lazy or stupid parents do let little kids go to R-rated movies, which regularly have this kind of speech in them.

“Get Hard” is an R-rated comedy about a white businessman who hires a black man to teach him how to get by in maximum security prison, so the trailer isn’t likely to run before an animated comedy about homeless bunnies. (That’s a marketing decision, not one based on good taste: There’s no overlap in audiences.)

But the Classification and Ratings Administration has decided this dialogue is suitable for anyone who might hear it at any time, in front of any film. What the (&^%$#@!?

I object to profanity less than sensual images, and I object to sensual images less than the extreme violence to which Hollywood is prone. But when did “dick” become a word in everyday parlance? Most of us would consider somebody who shouted it aloud in a theater to be vulgar, ignorant and rude. Why is it OK for kids to hear it from an actor on the screen?

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