DVD of the Week: 'The Hammer;' and More New Releases

From Stacie Hougland: The word "lovable" isn't exactly the first word that comes to mind with the name Adam Carolla, the cynical, acid-tongued morning radio host and former Jimmy Kimmel cohort on The Man Show, but in his movie The Hammer, that's exactly what he is.

In the pic, which he co-wrote and co-produced, Carolla plays 40-year-old burnout Jerry Ferro, a once marginally successful boxer turned construction worker going nowhere as he hurtles toward middle age. His girlfriend dumps him, his boss fires him. He finds his few pleasures in life teaching a boxing class at the gym and hanging out with pal Ozzie (real-life sidekick Oswaldo Castillo). It seems like the tide might finally change, though, when he starts dating his student Lindsay (Heather Juergensen), and famed boxing coach Eddie (Tom Quinn) brings Jerry in for the Olympic tryouts. Turns out that Lindsey has bigger aspirations, and Eddie just wants him around as a punching bag for the younger Olympic hopefuls. Can underdog Jerry come out of any of this a winner?

Adam Carolla scores a knockout with his feature debut.

The Hammer succeeds in playing to Carolla's dry, acerbic wit, but still gives him heart. (Who wouldn't love a dopey guy who builds you a deck to signal his affection?) The characters seem like people you might know, and you genuinely feel their hopes, fears, disappointments and joy while laughing at the gags and silly one-liners. Director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (Kissing Jessica Stein) keeps the comedy and character development moving briskly.

Best Extras: "A Conversation with Adam & Ozzie" is an oddly entertaining discussion between the pair at the radio station about their longtime relationship and working on the movie that shows Adam's great affection for his soft-spoken friend. The deleted scenes are worth a look.

Overview: The Hammer is an unexpectedly delightful gem of a low-budget comedy, an easy-breezy watch on DVD that'll make you laugh out loud.

Also New This Week:
10,000 BC: Apocalyptic director Roland Emmerich's (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) mammoth attempt at prehistoric action/sci-fi stars Camilla Belle and Steven Strait as a couple of Stone Age sweethearts separated by a alien horde that enslaves most of their tribe. Dreadlocked and Tarzan-clothed, the remaining homo sapiens, along with their megafauna friends, embark on a journey that culminates in a battle to free their fellow men from a life of building pyramids for Arab "gods." (Where's Raquel Welch when you need her?) The DVD has the widescreen version on one side, the cropped standard version on the other. Extras include an alternate ending and deleted scenes.
  • Watch this exclusive making-of featurette.

    Charlie Bartlett: Anton Yelchin stars as a desperate-to-be-liked rich kid who gets sent to public school after being kicked out of his chichi private school for running a fake ID scam. Ever self-effacing, Charlie ends up becoming a sympathetic ear for his peers--and in true entrepreneurial spirit, starts charging for advice and the anti-depressants he gets out of Mom's medicine cabinet. This Breakfast Club-meets-Rushmore high school comedy also stars Robert Downey Jr. as a down-on-life school principal.
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