Will Ferrell finds the ultimate vehicle to lampoon his own less-fair sex in Get Hard
Will Ferrell seems to have spent his entire career trying to figure out what makes a man a man.
Aside, of course, from a pair of testicles.
In most of his films, the 47-year-old US actor plays characters who push their masculinity to cartoonish levels in order to compensate for their insecurities.
Think of the blowhard newsman of the Anchorman films, the sex-obsessed figure skater of Blades Of Glory or the uptight cop from The Other Guys.
His filmography is a laundry list of messed-up men.
With the upcoming comedy Get Hard, which opens here on March 26, he's perhaps found the ultimate vehicle with which to lampoon his own less-fair sex.
He stars as James King, a millionaire businessman who gets convicted of fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The judge gives him a month to get his affairs in order, so he hires his mechanic Darnell (Kevin Hart) to teach him how to survive in prison.
Trouble is, Darnell has never been to prison, so it's the blind leading the blind.
Get Hard gives Ferrell all sorts of opportunities to make himself look foolish as he tries to butch himself up.
He starts dressing like a yet-dumber version of Kevin Federline.
He transforms his tennis court into a prison yard.
He joins a gang, and they call him Mayo - for mayonnaise, because he is white.
The funniest part of the trailer is when Darnell tries to teach James a "mad dog" face to scare off future attackers, but James instead goes with a "sad dog" face, in the hope of earning sympathy.
The reason that Ferrell is so good at this sort of thing, and that he's been able to make a career out of it, is that he genuinely seems to find the whole idea of American machismo to be ridiculous, which it is.
Here you have some of the most pampered men in the world, and yet they insist on living up to the manly example set by their truly rugged forebears.
At one time they were labourers, pioneers, farmers, fishermen, cowboys, warriors.
Now the vast majority work in air-conditioned offices and spend their weekends in front of big-screen televisions.
Ferrell is a big, lumbering guy who looks almost like a caveman, and yet he earns his livelihood acting silly in front of a camera.
He is the perfect person to tap into that futile, infantile desire among baby-soft American dudes to Get Hard.