I never thought I’d see the day when I reviewed a film starring Adam Carolla. But as obscure as that is, I never, ever thought I’d see the day
when I gave an Adam Carolla film a positively glowing review.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy, but he seemed more likely to pop up in a cameo in some crappy comedy.
“The Hammer” isn’t just a treat for Carolla fans, but a wonderfully unique underdog story that embraces Carolla’s off beat and rant-filled
sense of humor. This is one of those films that you can’t help but love.
One could certainly debate Carolla’s acting abilities. He was always much better on radio than on TV in my opinion. But Carolla’s on-screen
presence is so natural and so damn hilarious, that one wouldn’t be surprised if he was offered film roles in the future.
“The Hammer” doesn’t feel like an Adam Carolla screen test, however. Carolla is credited with the story and anyone familiar with his
background will see some striking similarities. This is clearly a personal story.
Carolla even gives a major supporting role to friend and fellow construction worker Oswaldo Castillo, whom the best Carolla fans will
remember from the fantastic “Adam Carolla Project” on TLC.
Carolla plays Jerry Ferro, a down on his luck construction worker and boxing instructor who gets a second chance to chase his dream of
“The Hammer” is one of those rare films that does almost everything well. The humor is spot-on, the boxing sequences are well
choreographed, and even the romantic subplot (usually the death of a film) works wonders.
There is a great chemistry between Carolla and Heather Juergensen as his new-found girlfriend.
Harold House Moore is also very good as the young up and coming rival boxer.
If I had to complain about something, it would definitely be the direction by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld. His visual style and pacing are a bit
clumsy at times. One can’t help but think that in the hands of a truly talented director that this could have been a great film.
As it is however, “The Hammer” is a very good film. Not just for Carolla fans, but for anyone that enjoys film. Certainly Carolla is as hilarious
as one would expect, but the story is also surprisingly genuine and told with a lot of heart. So do yourself a favor and check this film out.
And if not, just remember to never hang a heavy bag with toggle bolts.
* * * 1/2
(out of four)
Directed by: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
Written by: Kevin Hench
Starring: Adam Carolla, Oswaldo Castillo, Harold House
Moore, Christopher Darga, Jonathan Hernandez,
Cinematography by: Marco Fargnoli
Music by: Matt Mariano and John Swihart
Released: March 21, 2008; 88 Minutes