Every comedian thinks they have an "Annie Hall" in them, an early-Woody Allen-ish mix of common-guy persona and witty one-liners they'd like to write themselves. Billy Crystal tried it with varying success. Chris Rock is still perfecting his take on it. Mike Binder thankfully stopped.
But Adam Carolla - after previous incarnations as a standup, a creator of "Crank Yankers" and co-host of "Loveline" and "The Man Show" - found the recipe that works for him: He added a dash of young Walter Matthau. And - surprise - Carolla's grumbly, monotoned, stoop-shouldered pessimism in "The Hammer," the first feature he has penned, is actually funny.
Carolla uses a different part of his autobiography, his youthful amateur boxing days, for "The Hammer." His Jerry Ferro gave up his dream of being a fighter when he was 19. Now, facing 40, he coaches at an L.A. gym while working as a carpenter. But when Jerry loses his girlfriend and his job, he decides to take the advice of his trainer and give the Olympics' regional bouts one last shot.
Between wooing a pretty lawyer in his boxing class (Heather Juergensen) and having a friendly rivalry with his sparring partner (Harold House Moore), Jerry tries to lose weight, toughen up and find that guy he used to be at 19. It shouldn't be too hard, as long as that guy isn't too busy playing video games and getting high.
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