The Upside (2019)
Critic Consensus: Preachy, manipulative, and frustratingly clichéd, The Upside showcases Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart's chemistry without ever taking full advantage of it.
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Critic Reviews for The Upside
Director Neil Burger, for his part, moves the story along fairly briskly, refusing to let the film's schmaltziness weigh it down. This is nothing remarkable, but it could have been a lot worse.
As the paint-by-numbers plot progresses -- over two very long hours -- the treacle thickens and it becomes clear that each of them is slowly going to learn from and be redeemed by the others.
This is a different look for him, and I'm fine with what he does, stepping in to a dramatic role. I have issues with this film because it wants to play off that "inspired by a true film" a bit too much.
This is not much more than a light crowdpleaser, but when you've got two powerhouse performers like this it is very difficult not to find oneself at least temporarily charmed.
The most optimistic answer would be that after decades of overuse we're beginning to grow weary of such racist caricatures. Let's hope that's true.
Audience Reviews for The Upside
I had the privilege of watching the original award-winning French version, Untouchables, which is based on a true story of a friendship that develops between a wealthy (white) quadriplegic, Philippe, and his (black) carer, Driss, an ex-convict. This English language remake carries the irreverence, the heart and humour well. What's missing is perhaps the subtlety in the acting chops. It's no mean feat, but Kevin Hart does it well, although, he is no Omar Sy. A good all-round effort in this English version, but nothing beats watching the original film. You'd know what I mean.
Mid-budget star vehicles are often said to be things of the past or off-season novelties. The Upside is the latter, released in January, banking on the star power of its leads and wisely avoiding confrontation with, letâ(TM)s be honest, better movies. The Upside is a loose remake of the 2011 French modern classic The Intouchables. The plot centers on an ex-con struggling to find work who finds himself in the employ of a reclusive billionaire paraplegic as his caretaker. Both learn to overcome their personal dilemmas through their partnership and eventual friendship, as you would expect for this kind of fare. Iâ(TM)m told this movie is more saccharine and conventional than The Intouchables was. What I can confirm is that itâ(TM)s fairly predictable. What does work about The Upside is the comedic chemistry between Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart. Both give bravura performances that overcome the melodrama and some of the best scenes involve them bullshitting, listening to music and arguing over it, or just driving around. Nicole Kidman plays âthe straight manâ? and has a few surprises as the story nears the end. It lacks the depth that would allow it to stay in your memory a month later, but itâ(TM)s a decent middle of the road story with a couple of laughs. The Upside is a pretty okay rental or streaming option that you can put in the background while you do chores or have sex.
Charming is the key word here. You will be charmed. The Upside is charming. Charmed in the sense not that The Upside will put you under a spell necessarily, but more in the sense of it being a pure pleasure; a delight, if you will. Many a foreign films are re-tooled into American stories so as to make the context more familiar and the circumstances more relatable/understandable, but oddly enough the 2011 French film, The Intouchables, might be the last foreign film to come to mind when considering what would benefit from a re-contextualization as it, by virtue of its broad and rather simple odd-couple premise, feels the least foreign in terms of beats and emotions relayed. Still, for one reason or another it was deemed a big enough hit overseas and therefore must have been doing enough right to make a stateside studio want to re-make it once more (it has already been re-made in India as well as having a Spanish-language re-make to boot) and so why not hire the likes of Walter White and the most reliable comic actor of the moment to bring it to a wider, English-speaking audience? Thus, The Upside was born and first premiered on the festival circuit back in the fall of 2017, but was shelved and sold off following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. Eventually bought by STX Entertainment, the studio is either hoping people overlook the time of year in which they are dumping this into theaters and simply trust the inspired pairing of Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart or they are just trying to unload what is sure to make some money, but what they ultimately realize was always an unnecessary piece of cinema. And yet, unnecessary as it may be, the inspired pairing of Cranston and Hart is what makes director Neil Burger's (Limitless, The Illusionist) re-make of the film a film with genuine heart and even a little insightful substance from time to time rather than that of a film completely devoid of any charm or wit that exists solely as an opportunity to replicate a previous winning formula. The Upside is certainly formula and it goes without saying any seasoned movie-goer will know to expect every beat this hits, but that doesn't mean it's neither appealing nor endearing as it strokes its familiar elements to the point it is these charming qualities that stand out most. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com
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