Film Review: ‘The Upside’ Works Because of Kevin Hart & Bryan Cranston

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – In 2011, there was a notable French film called “The Intouchables,” based on the true story of quadriplegic Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo and the relationship with his caregiver. Leave it to the U.S. film industry to get its sticky fingers on the story, and seven years later Bryan Cranston portrays “Phillip” and his caretaker is portrayed by Kevin Hart. Instead of story, this version relies on its lead actors.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Intuitively and entertainment-wise, there is nothing wrong with the transformation. In the French version, the caregiver Driss is a poor immigrant in Paris. With Kevin Hart, renamed “Dell,” he’s an ex-con trying to reconnect with his son, who lives in public housing. Naturally, the role is rewired to exploit Hart’s comedic tics, but he does as much dramatic acting and pulls it off. Cranston is his usual competent self portraying Phillip… he understands the pathos of his situation, and pines for his late wife. The film both rises and falls on its two lead actors, but mostly rises, and is a decent story of two men overcoming their handicaps.

Dell (Kevin Hart) has just been released from prison and is back in his Bronx neighborhood, and is trying to stay away from the element that got him locked up in the first place. This involves finding a job, which he is not keen to do, despite having a son and child support to pay to the mother of the child. He prefers to do some interviews and have the businesses sign off on his parole form.

This accidentally gets him into a swank building in New York City, and the penthouse apartment of Phillip (Bryan Cranston), a billionaire hedge funder who was paralyzed from the neck down after a para-sailing accident. Of all the caregiver applicants, Phillip sees something in Dell that spurs his interest, and he hires the inexperienced ex-con. The relationship will change both their lives.

“The Upside” opens everywhere on January 11th. Featuring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, Tate Donovan and Aja Naomi King. Screenplay by Jon Hartmere. Directed by Neil Burger. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Upside”

Upside1
Dell (Kevin Hart) and Phillip (Bryan Cranston) in ‘The Upside’
Photo credit: STX Entertainment

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Upside”

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker