The Upside (2019)

Director: Neil Burger
Writer/s: Jon Hartmere (screenplay by), Éric Toledano, Oliver Nakache (based on the motion picture “Les Intouchables” by)
Starring: Kevin Heart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman, Aja Naomi King, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, and more.

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The Intro:
With this review, Oberrated tackles “The Upside” which stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. I must say when I first saw this trailer and actually even before that, when Kevin Hart announced he was doing a more “serious” film, I just knew I was going to be on board for this attempt. Now whether it hits home well enough for me to like is another question. However, the trailers sold me and made me quite excited for the film. Contrary to my excitement, it seemed that early critics were relentlessly berating this film because of it being a remake of “The Intouchables” and “not holding a candle to the original”. Now listen here, I am all for original content, but look at the day and age we are in. Almost everything is a remake or a sequel. To meet this film with such anger and distaste, I better see everyone going after “The Departed” and the endless amounts of high quality films that are actually remakes. Regardless, I have been quite excited for this film and going into my screening, I had high hopes.

IMDB Summary:
“A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.”

The Oberrating:
Hey guys, listen. I know my next statement is going to sound strange cause, you know, I am a film reviewer but my response to seeing “The Upside” is exactly why you do not listen to critics. I had such a wonderful time watching this film. It overall is a feel good film that plays to the audience’s emotions, and a wide range of them at that. It may make you smile, laugh, and/or cry. Ultimately, it is a film well worth your time, despite what the big dog critics may say.

One thing that “The Upside” has going for it beyond the emotional appeal is a stellar acting performance put on by just about all of the cast. Leading the charge is Kevin Hart, aka Little Hollywood. Just kidding, I do not call him that but it is still a little funny. Anyway… This is Kevin’s first more serious role compared to his straight out comedy films. Of course there is still the Hart comedy to his performance but he plays Dell, the ex-con, deadbeat dad. For me, I was more than convinced with his performance as he showcased care and compassion along with a desperate drive to see his son and do the right thing.

Next up is co-star Bryan Cranston playing Phillip Lacasse. Cranston and Hart compliment each other well with their mix of dramatic and comedic performances. Most of the humor throughout “The Upside” is dry but works well for the two actors and created quite the funny film for myself. Along with that, playing a quadriplegic, I feel Cranston performs well with has face showing times of anguish and sadness given his mourning and pained mental state.
The whole supporting cast of “The Upside” are nothing to ignore as well. The squad of Nicole Kidman, Aja Naomi King, and Jahi Di’Allo Winston are all simply wonderful in their limited roles.

Now aside from all my praise and noting that the film is a great feel-good piece, unfortunately “The Upside” does not bring anything too new to a film viewer’s eyes. Lately, films featuring someone who is handicapped has been common source material for Hollywood and we all can make the safe assumption it ends well or…not so well.

The Wrap-Up:

Again everyone, do not let the critic reviews sway you. To this posting date the IMDb rating has gone from 3.2 pre-opening score to currently a 5.5. For those who enjoy heart filled comedies, this will be for you. Well worth the visit to a theater if you enjoy this material. Otherwise it can wait til digital and physical release as it is something we have seen many times.

Other Takeaways:

  • As Hart’s first, more serious role, he does a commendable job.
  • Wish I got a bit more of Phillip’s (Cranston) back story.
  • From “Everything Sucks” to “The Upside”, Jahi Di’Allo Winston is a pleasure to watch act.
  • Screw big ticket critics, listen to me. 😉

Rating: 3/5



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