Sep 2008 18

Adam Carolla’s latest is a great little indie comedy that will go down as one of the better sports films of the last few years.
Carolla stars as Jerry Ferro, a handyman that has trouble keeping his day job, but finds peace in his boxing conditioning and classes that he teaches. Jerry was once a Gold Glove boxer that never made it big for the lack of any real reason. With a knock out hook and the ability to take some punches made him a formidable opponent but his life steered away from that and he finds him self living the day to day grind. Luckily for Jerry both a girl and a boxing comeback both pop back into his life at the same time and the story of The Hammer follows both of these comebacks.
The film is full of little twists and turns, so I will save those for you, but the story is solid and entertaining with Carolla supplying plenty of laughs. There are a couple of sections throughout the film where they let Carolla just riff on a topic and the results are some great lines and funny observations and it all comes across very natural in the conversation among Carolla and his co-stars. The romantic angle of the film also works really well with Carolla and Heather Juergensen playing off each other with ease. The arc is even touching at times and Carolla’s Jerry can come across as very sad and humbling at times while not coming across as desperate and that really makes him very likeable and the film feel real.
Now, if you thought the romance worked well, well the boxing works even better, as Corolla proves he is more than up to the task. Carolla is so good in fact he has to have had some sort of substantial amount of experience in the past. The boxing scenes look great and they are even able to inject a good amount of humor into them as well.
Carolla can’t deserve enough praise for his work in the film, and while it isn’t an Oscar caliber turn, he excels at the physical side while also handling the touching scenes very well on top of that and shows a great amount of range while perfectly capturing the attitude of that single middle aged man that is desperately trying to hold on to the things he loves in life. I mentioned Juergensen’s work as the love interest and it is solid and works well in the picture. She might not knock the socks off everyone, but she is cute, smart, and sweet and is incredibly likable, as we root for the two to end up together.
The Hammer is a pleasant and welcome entry to the sports film scene. It is funny, with well shot action, and a story you can get behind. While the film is definitely a low budget affair it doesn’t really hurt the believability of the film and actually helps authenticate it as a small time guy trying to get out of the small time life. So run out and rent The Hammer, it works as a sports flick, a comedy, a rom-com, and has a little bit of something for everyone.


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