ROAD HARD (Adam Carolla, Kevin Hench). 98 minutes. Rating: NNN
Where to watch: iTunes
A lot rings painfully true about showbiz in Road Hard, a bittersweet look at a middle-aged comic dealing with a stalled career.
Bruce Madsen (Adam Carolla) was once famous for a testosterone-laden TV program called The Bro Show. But while his co-host, Jack (Jay Mohr), graduated to a successful late-night show – just like Carolla’s The Man Show co-host Jimmy Kimmel – Bruce is foundering in B movies and has-been celebrity reality shows. Now he’s playing comedy clubs in Omaha and Winnipeg.
Since this cuts close to Carolla’s own life and career, there are lots of authentically awkward moments in the film’s first half involving Bruce’s glib agent (Larry Miller, in a series of bad hairpieces), his ex-wife and her new partner (Illeana Douglas and David Koechner) and his comedy cronies (among them David Alan Grier) who don’t want to tell him about their pilots because he’ll get depressed.
Carolla also gets to deliver some decent routines on the road, both in front of the mic and while talking to hotel clerks, airline seatmates and bar buddies.
Too bad the film fizzles out in the second half when an unconvincing romantic comedy plot kicks in. Carolla doesn’t have the biggest emotional range, so he can’t sell these developments or the ones with Bruce’s idealized daughter (Cynthy Wu).