Out this week in cinemas is The Upside starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, and Nicole Kidman in a story about a charming relationship.
Based on a true story as well as a remake of the 2011 film The Intouchables The Upside follows Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) an ex-con looking for a job. Honestly, though he’s not looking particularly well. He meanders from job opportunity to the next getting signatures to stay out of court until he comes across Philip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston) a wealthy quadriplegic who sees something in Dell that separates him from the rest of the job seekers.
Philip hires Dell to become his life auxiliary much to the chagrin of his business colleague Yvonne (Nicole Kidman) who views Dell’s lack of skill disturbing as she worries Philip is using Dell’s ineptitude as a way to finally die.
This heady theme is done away with quite early in the film though and replaced with two lads learning to be best buds even though they have several culture divides separating them.
The divides are somewhat, insulting if I’m being honest. One of the characters is white, the other black. One is wealthy and well educated, the other is poor and poorly educated. These divides are stereotypical and are elements I wish we could get away from.
The plot of The Upside also plays out predictably. Philip gets a new lease on life because of the attitude of Dell and Dell learns to be a better father through the tutelage of Philip over the course of the film. The film even has the played out scene where Dell is introduced to Opera, doesn’t like it at first but then comes to adore it by the end of his first outing.
Thankfully though the two lads in The Upside have a charming relationship. Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart are brilliant together. They make this movie as enjoyable as it can be.
They bounce off each other so well and there are genuine laughs when they are shooting barbs at each other. Not to be left out in the cold is Nicole Kidman’s Yvonne. She has the thankless job of being the matron of the duo so she has to spoil some of the fun but Kidman still adds her own flair to the part and by the end of the film I’ll admit she brought a few tears to my eyes.
It is also worth noting that this is easily the best dramatic performance from Hart. He is restained and gives genuine weight to scenes that require it. Most notably when he visits his estranged child.
The Upside is an okay film. The story is predictable, there is nothing technically noteworthy about it, but what salvages it is a brilliant on-screen duo. Hart and Cranston need to be in more films together they just need to be better films.