The Upside

The Upside stars Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, and Nicole Kidman, and is based on the true story about a wealthy quadriplegic man who hires an ex-convict to help with his day-to-day routine. Together they improve each other’s lives and get high on life.

I was pleasantly surprised while watching this movie in the theatre. I thought by the trailer this movie looked awful and I had no real interest in seeing it. Now after sitting in the theater with a packed room full of people, I can say the humor and charm The Upside has is quite captivating. The place erupted with laughter constantly throughout the whole movie, making for an enjoyable watching experience. Much like 2018’s Green Book (which is a significantly superior film), The Upside at its core is about friendship. This is a light-hearted and comedic take on a really dark time in two people’s lives, which adds to the film an uplifting and encouraging tone to the story. The Upside is a feel-good kind of movie that is so accessible to everyone.

Kevin Hart was very good and surprise me by how restrained he was. Kevin Hart plays Kevin Hart in every movie he does. He’s loud, constantly cracking wiseass remarks, and makes fun of how tall he is. It’s a shtick that works and gets butts in seats (whether it be a movie theatre or a football stadium), and quite honestly I really like him. But for a role like this, I wasn’t sure he was the right fit. What impressed me the most about his performance was how he was able to tone down the “Kevin Hartisms” and still deliver a role that was funny and had people laughing but at the same time carried the weight of the struggle the character is dealing with.

Del (Kevin Hart) is someone struggling to determine what kind of a man he wants to be for himself and for his estranged wife and son. When dealing with the personal side of his growth and change as a person, Hart really shines, its when he’s dealing with the family side of things that really slow down the pace and drive of the movie. The actress playing his wife was not very good and pulled me right out of the movie whenever she was on screen. Thankfully, she only has maybe 3 scenes in total. One thing that unfortunately missed the mark was the relationship between Del and his son. I never once bought that they were father and son. I never felt the emotional connection and desire for it from Kevin Hart.

I personally can not think of a single bad Bryan Cranston performance. Even in bad projects, he’s in, he still crushes it. Playing this type of role seems like it would be a difficult task to take for an actor, but here Cranston is able to portray so much pain and conflict with just his head and facial features. And you can’t have a story like this without our two main leads having a good connection with each other. Their chemistry really works. The bond built between these two is endearing and such a delight to watch.

I wasn’t going to mention this, but I feel it is relevant and definitely played into my view on this film. I’ll contain this point to just a short brief thought and let the film stand on its own merits. The Upside is a remake of 2011 French film, The Intouchables. This was one of the best films of the past decade and explores this story with so much depth and care. The Upside is really good and surprised me by how much I liked it, considering how in love I am with its original. The French movie, in my opinion, is superior, but The Upside holds its own and is one of the most enjoyable and fun movies in theaters right now!

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