Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Here’s why Adam Carolla’s movie ‘The Hammer’ has me all pissed off. As I have said on these pages numerous times before, I have a little TV show that called ‘Totally Twisted Flix’ that I shamelessly try to plug, alas to no avail because nobody on the planet earth actually watches the show. Not even me. This little television masterpiece is a film review show that only deals with Straight to Video exclusively, a category that I think Carolla’s ‘The Hammer’ would have fit in quite nicely, plus it was good enough to be award worthy at our season’s end ‘Totally Twisted Flix’ best of award show. Unfortunately for us, Carolla showed a complete hatred and disdain for the Straight to Video genre and actually ponied up a load of his own cash to get his movie a limited theatrical run, thus making it ineligible to be on the show. Not good looking out Adam. Not good looking out at all.

‘The Hammer’ is a very simple, somewhat derivative loser done good sports movie in which Carolla plays the character of Jerry Ferro. Jerry has hit a bit of a rough patch as he has just gotten fired from his job as a freelance carpenter, his woman has had enough of him and bolted, he’s just turned a decrepit forty plus he drives crappy car while living in Los Angeles. So I was talking to a good friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles and informing him that my home state of Michigan might have a crappy economy, high unemployment, a rogue mayor and a sky rocketing crime rate, but we do have a virtually unlimited supply of fresh water baby, so keep your crude oil because it can’t quench a thirst. He told me that we can keep our fresh water because he and his fellow Californians would rather die of thirst than give up the ability to drive, and heaven help your loser ass if you’re driving a bold ride. Anyway, Jerry’s real passion in life is boxing and he was once a very promising amateur back in the day, replete with the nickname of ‘The Hammer’.

To help make a few bucks Jerry teaches some boxing classes at the local gym and often goes to the boxing gym to spar or whatnot and after dropping a top contender

during a session he catches the eye of trainer Eddie Bell (Tom Quinn). Bell is having tryouts for a team to take to the Olympic trials and invites the out of shape, overweight beer guzzling Jerry to tryout as a light heavy. This doesn’t sit too well with Bell’s current light heavy prodigy Robert Brown (Harold House Moore), but after some hard work and swearing off the keg, Jerry makes weight and is off to the Olympic trials as a 40 year old amateur. There’s also a little love in Jerry’s life in public defender Lindsay Pratt (Heather Juergensen) who Jerry met through his boxing classes and due to the sheer power of his wit and charm he has managed to charm her pants off. Of course things aren’t always quite what they appear to be, as Jerry will learn, forcing him to fall back into some old habits but also realizing that sometimes a man has to look into himself, rise up and do what a man has to do when he has to do it. Or something.

Now I don’t much about Adam Carolla other than the fact that he was on that show with Jimmy Kimmel that I never watched and that I’ve seen a couple of commercials he’s done and I guess his appeal seems to be largely tied to drunken obnoxious sexist sports fan types. That would exclude me because I’m not drunken. But I really didn’t know much about the dude until after I saw ‘The Hammer’ so I had no real preconceived notions about how it would be, and though it’s nothing unique or special and it is completely derivative with a totally ridiculous ending, this was still one fine piece of watchable entertainment.

This is an Adam Carolla film since he’s in like virtually every single scene of this movie and he uses his dry wit and easy going demeanor to give Jerry Ferro a very approachable and relatable good natured vibe which makes it real easy to get behind the guy, even though most of his problems are of his own doing.

Charles Herman-Wurfield directs this film as easily and as breezily as his star acts in this movie with a simple uncomplicated style, as I always appreciate a film director who simply gets out of the way and allows the story to tell itself as opposed to showing the audience ‘what he can do’. All of the actors and performances in this movie, including long time Carolla standby Oswald Castillo, provide solid support to this simple but very witty and completely engaging little film.

I suppose if I wanted to be an jerk about it I could say how the whole sad sack (insert sporting event here) looking for one last run into the sun angle has been done ad-infinitum and the fact that it comes down a final fight between the old washed up dude and the brash talented but overly confidant and arrogant antagonist is a bit tired. And sure, perhaps Carolla might as well have written a scene where he’s running through Philadelphia and doing a victory dance on the steps on the Philadelphia Museum of Art to complete the derivative nature of this flick, but I’m no jerk.

Since I like sports movies and since I’m a cat that could stand to lose a few pounds and also have just turned forty I suppose I can relate to this movie, though I sure wish I couldn’t, which also raised my enjoyment level of this unassuming picture, one I don’t think anybody, except extreme haters of Mr. Carolla, can go wrong with. Me and you could have had something Adam if you kept this thing out of theaters and allowed it follow its natural course of STV, but alas it was not be.

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