After working the grind of the comedy club circuit while picking up the occasional supporting film role, it seems actor/comedian Kevin Hart has finally reached, and even surpassed, the mainstream success that has recently graced Louis C.K. and Marc Maron among others. His comedy special “Laugh At My Pain” grossed more than $7 million on just 284 screens, while his starring role in the Tim Story-directed “Think Like a Man” helped that film reach $86 million on a $12 budget. Of course, now that Hart has proven himself a viable talent, studios are clamoring to place him front and center in their latest projects, and the first one finds him co-starring with another comedy star who previously struck box-office gold.
Deadline reports Hart is set to join Kevin James, “The King of Queens” star turned Hollywood go-to guy with “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and “The Zookeeper,” in his latest occupation-based wonder, “Valet Guys.” Originally envisioned as a starring vehicle for Adam Sandler and James, until Sandler dropped out to thankfully bring “Grown Ups 2” into development, the film follows Hart and James as, sure enough, valets at a high-end South Beach hotel, who one night find in their possession an expensive sports car. Of course, they lose it just as quickly by witnessing a murder, then find themselves in a race against time to recover the car in 48 hours. James wrote the script with Nick Bakay, his reliable scribe responsible for the past films, and will start in the film after his current paid vacation in “Grown Ups 2.”
As long as there are part-time jobs with potential for James-ian shenanigans, there will be feature-length adventures to be made from it, likely to make back three times its budget and more, and restart the cycle all over again. The only noticeable difference between each film will be the talent involved that could possibly redeem it, and Hart is not a bad place to begin. The man has charisma and screen presence to boot, and if anyone can pull off the awkwardly conceived physical comedy in James' films, it's Hart. Now let's just hope he's developing something more interesting while on set, when “Valet Guys” films late this year in Miami.