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Friday
Jan112019

THE ODD COUPLE OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE // A FILM REVIEW OF "THE UPSIDE"

BY MATEO MORENO

THE UPSIDE, the new remake of the 2011 French mega hit Les Intouchables, has been on the shelf since 2017. Not because of any content the movie had but because it was collateral damage in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. It eventually found a January release date (never a great sign if you’re not an action film), and we can finally get to see Kevin Hart go toe to toe against Bryan Cranston in a dramedy that’s “sort of” based on a true story (at least the original was). This American remake hits basically the same beats as the original film, but changes up the story a bit.

The story itself is about an ex-convict named Dell Scott (played by Hart) who needs to find a job, or at least look like he’s trying to find one, so that he can bring the proof back to his parole officer. He shows up to the mansion of Phillip Lacasse (played by Bryan Cranston) who is a billionaire quadriplegic who needs a caretaker. Yvonee Pendelton (Nicole Kidman) is giving the interview and she’s not impressed. But Phillip sees something that he likes, something that’s different, and hired Dell. At first, Dell isn’t interested in the job, until he hears the salary and he jumps at the opportunity immediately. Now begins an odd couple dramedy where the young black ex con teaches the billionaire white man how to live with his heart, and the billionaire white man teaches the black ex con how to live with his head. Stop me if you’re starting to cringe.

 

Why Director Neil Burger decided to remake this film, and why Hart and Cranston (and even Kidman) decided to jump on board is a mystery. The film plays, much like the 2011 French film did, like a movie that was made in the 1980’s and feels way outdated in the gender and racial politics of today. But yet, it wasn’t. The film is new, but no idea is. Stereotypes abound the film and even though Hart and Cranston both give solid performances, the film is a flopping, offensive mess. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not so offensive that you’ll want to walk out of the theatre. But it's just offensive enough that you'll be upset that you're not seeing something that's more clever. Or actually funny. Unless you like catheter humor or enjoy how Dell can’t say the word “penis.” Monty Python watch out. This is comedy gold.

 

MATEO'S GRADE: D

BASED ON THE FILM "LES INTOUCHABLES" WRITTEN BY  Éric Toledano, Oliver Nakache SCREENPLAY BY Jon Hartmere DIRECTED BY Neil Berger STARRING Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman. Now playing in cinemas.

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