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Film / The Hammer

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Jerry: They say you should never let go of your dreams. But if your dream is to be a Mouseketeer, and you're 45, you may want to let that one go. On the other hand, if your dream is to be a Wal-Mart greeter, you can hang on to that baby until like a year after you die. Me? I don't even know what my dream is, but it's all right. I've got time. I won't be turning 40 for another—
*alarm clock goes off*
Jerry: Ugh... I just turned 40.

The Hammer is a 2007 comedy written by and starring Adam Carolla. Carolla stars as Jerry Ferro, a very quick-witted Deadpan Snarker who hasn't done one whole hell of a lot with his forty years so far. When he and his buddy Ozzie get themselves fired from their jobs as carpenters, Jerry heads to the gym where he teaches boxing lessons to take out his frustrations in the ring. After Jerry shoots his mouth off and gets into an unwanted sparring match, a wizened old coach named Eddie takes notice of his hard-hitting left hook (which, despite his former trade, is what really earned him the nickname "The Hammer" during his younger days as a Golden Gloves boxer) and offers him the chance to compete for a shot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing team. All told, it's a pretty good success story in the making.

Too bad for Jerry, not all has been told: Coach Eddie is actually using Jerry as a means of getting some free training for his favored contender, a grumpy but talented up-and-comer named Robert who butts heads with Jerry while preparing for his shot at the gold. Jerry, however, is having none of that, and decides that he's taking his shot, too. Along the way, he gets support from his buddy Ozzie and from his new love interest Lindsey, a good-hearted public defender and one of Jerry's students at the gym. With their help, he's going for one last chance at greatness.

The movie sort of came and went in its limited theatrical run, but it's found a small but loyal fanbase thanks to its abundance of great, snappy dialogue and humor that, unusually for an R-rated comedy these days, doesn't rely too heavily on Black Comedy or dangling onscreen penises to get its laughs.

This film includes examples of:

  • Author Avatar: Carolla is also a former carpenter who boxed in his youth. Up until he made it big in radio, he was also something of an underachiever.
  • Bad Boss: Mike, the foreman. Jerry is canned when he finally gets fed up with Mike's verbal abuse and smashes the windshield on his truck.
  • Brick Joke:
    • "Who hangs a heavy bag with toggle bolts?"
    • "You're gonna love it in Beijing. None of the rickshaws go over 37 miles an hour.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Jerry's always been well aware that he could do much better with his life, but spent a long time getting by on the minimum of effort just because it was the easier thing to do.
    Eddie: "Y'know, I've seen guys like you before. You're one of those ninety-five percenters, who never quite gives it all he's got."
    Jerry: "Actually, I'm one of those seventy-five percenters, who's giving you an extra 20%!"
  • Casualty in the Ring: Jokingly discussed by Jerry when Lindsay asks why he gave up boxing:
    Jerry: "I killed a man in the ring."
    Lindsay: "Oh my God, really?"
    Jerry: "Nah. I wish I had an excuse that good."
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jerry's priceless response to Lindsey's rhetorical question:
    "Why do men have to punch each other in the face?"
    "Because they deduct points if we punch each other in the balls."
  • Cultural Posturing: Lampshaded by Jerry, when Ozzie and his pals start cheering on the superiority of Nicaraguan athletics:
    Jerry: "Y'know, you guys keep talking about Nicaragua, except for that part where you risked your lives not to have to live there anymore."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Much like the guy who plays him, Jerry is an expert smart-ass.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Jerry doesn't take it well when he finds out that Coach Eddie has been stringing him along, with no intention of taking him to the Olympic tryouts. Then Lindsey takes a job in Seattle.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jerry pounds down a sixer of beer while looking over a newspaper scrapbook detailing the highlights of his Golden Gloves career, with the headlines increasingly reflecting his self-pity as he gets drunker, ("Ferro Girlfriend Dumps Quitter," "Ferro Loses Another Job," etc.) finally ending with a headline declaring "Ferro Drunk, Needs to Pee." Jerry drinks Tecate because it's one of the few brands that will allow films to show excessive drinking as part of a Product Placement.
  • Hetero Sexual Life Partner: Jerry and Ozzie, much like Adam and Ozzie in spite of their language barrier.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Jerry's a bit surprised with the lunch Ozzie shares with him:
    Jerry: "I think this chicken's gone south, Ozzie."
    Ozzie: "It's cactus."
    Jerry: "Cactus?"
    Ozzie: "It's good!"
    Jerry: "It's good if your plane goes down in the desert, but not when you can walk to a supermarket. What'd the old lady pack for dessert, a pinecone?"
  • Insult Backfire: "I'd kick your ass, but calling me 'middle class' is about the nicest thing anybody's ever said to me!"
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Robert, who gradually becomes less of a jerk as he and Jerry earn one another's respect following the regional tryouts. Jerry's more or less an inversion, being a nice, stand-up guy with quite an entrenched snarky streak (who also doesn't have a problem stealing lumber from his Jerkass former boss).
  • Milestone Birthday Angst: The film begins with protagonist Jerry Ferro frustrated that he's now 40 and not doing anything amazing with his life.
  • Moment Killer: Jerry is in the process of asking Lindsey on a date when Ozzie blurts out that he just got dumped a few days earlier.
    Jerry: You may not understand this, Ozzie, but chicks don't usually dig it when they find out someone just got dumped.
    Ozzie: But it's true!
    Jerry: It's also true that I have a hairy ass, but I don't weave it into every conversation that I have.
  • Not What It Looks Like: What do you do when your gloves are already taped up and you've gotta take a leak? You set up probably the bluest joke in the movie. Ozzie is one hell of a good friend.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Mike isn't just a jerk, but he's also quite racist towards Ozzie.
  • Product Placement: After drowning his sorrows, Jerry's living room is littered with Tecate cans. Tecate is one of the few beer brands that will pay for product placement when characters drink to excess.
  • Religious Stereotype: Averted by Victor, Jerry's protege who is respectfully depicted as a devout Christian and also a kind-hearted young man. Noteworthy because writer and star Adam Carolla is both libertarian and an Atheist.
  • Scary Black Man: Amateur boxer Darius Reece was one of the toughest fighters around five years ago.
    "What's he been doing for the last five years?"
    "He's been doing five years."
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The deck he builds for Lindsay's home while she's away turns out to be something of a bust when Jerry learns that she was only renting the house... but it ultimately does help convince her not to take the new job after all.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Mike, somebody threw a belt sander through your windshield."
  • Throwing the Fight: Jerry forgoes landing a knockout punch in his match against Robert when he has the younger fighter at his mercy, letting Robert take the win on points and sending him to the Olympics.
  • Training Montage: Subverted for laughs - The montage is mostly of Jerry hitting the Snooze button on his alarm clock.
  • Underestimating Badassery: One of Jerry's students gets the bright idea to pose as a gay boxer and enter the Gay Games, thinking he'd have an easier time of things. Jerry tries to point out that this isn't exactly the foolproof plan he thinks it is:
    Jerry: "I dunno, man. Some of those guys are pretty ripped."
    Student: "Jerry, c'mon; you think I'm gonna lose to some guy who enters the ring to Barbra Streisand?"
    Jerry: "Uh, I think you'd lose to Barbra Streisand."