Road Hard Adam Carolla and Kevin Hench

Road Hard Adam Carolla and Kevin Hench
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Comedian and podcaster Adam Carolla is notoriously capable of complaining about just about everything under the sun, but nothing grinds his gears quite like the pitfalls of his own career — or at least that's the sense one gets from his new comedy, Road Hard, co-written and co-directed with Kevin Hench. It's a shameless and narcissistic piece of navel-gazing that provides Carolla the opportunity to voice a host of inaccessible and largely unfunny gripes about the drudgery of bouncing from city to city while trying to stay afloat in show business.

If Carolla was trying to keep people from thinking that this material was autobiographical, he could have at least done a little better disguising the particulars. Where Carolla once co-hosted The Man Show on Comedy Central with Jimmy Kimmel, the comedian he portrays here, Bruce Madsen, was the co-host of The Bro Show, before his partner Jack Taylor (Jay Mohr) went on to become a successful late-night talk show host. Sound familiar?

Years later, Bruce now laments nearly everything about his lot in life, from the $250 charge he's levelled with for smoking a cigarette in his hotel room to the fact that his sweet-talking agent (Larry Miller, having fun portraying Carolla's real-life agent James "Baby Doll" Dixon) can't seem to land him another decent television gig. There's also the matter of the house he's trying to convince his ex-wife (Illeana Douglas) to sell while he pays for her to live there with their daughter (Cynthy Wu), who's about to enrol in an expensive college.

The movie spins its wheels from one unfortunate episode in Bruce's transient existence to another, without much in the way of building an actual plot. He gets stuck in the middle seat on a plane next to an obese woman with a service dog in her lap, he's seduced by a divorcee who's too drunk to perform and he meets periodically with his improbably successful friends in comedy (David Alan Grier, who doesn't exactly play himself, and Everybody Loves Raymond co-creator Phil Rosenthal, who does) to help underscore his own failure.

Every once in a while, someone calls out Bruce on his whiny bullshit, as if the film can sense his irritability growing tiresome. Things only get worse though when his situation is suddenly improved by stumbling into love with the friend of a super-fan (Diane Farr) in the film's final act. As he drones on endlessly to her about what really irks him and discovers that she has a wood shop at her house where he could literally spend hours working with lumber, we realize that Bruce/Adam isn't so much falling for her; he's only growing more smitten with himself.

(Video Service Corp.)