The Upside Review
What’s It About?
Remake of the classic French film, The Intouchables, about a hugely wealthy quadriplegic man who has essentially given up on life, only to hire a man completely unsuited to the role of carer. What follows is the incredible story of how their relationship develops.
Who’s In it?
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo & more recently Trumbo)
Kevin Hart (Ride Along 1 & 2, Central Intelligence, & more recently Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle)
Other notables include:
Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, The Others, The Hours & more recently The Killing Of A Sacred Deer)
Director: Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless, & more recently Divergent)
Based on the classic French film of 2011 starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, The Intouchables/Untouchable, Neil Burger attempts to transfer the story over to the United States.
Casting Bryan Cranston in the Francois Cluzet role as a depressed quadriplegic is a master stroke, with Cranston delivering a note perfect performance, playing the straight man to Kevin Hart’s typical wise cracking high tempo role.
The film sees a multi-millionaire suffering in a wheelchair, following a tragic accident. With the death of his wife, and the loss of mobility, he has understandably became irascible, working his way through many many carers, until Fate intervenes, and ex con Dell shows up at the wrong job interview just hoping to get a signature to demonstrate he is looking for work and can claim unemployment benefit. Needless to say, a bloody-minded Phlilip offers him the job, despite Dell having no qualifications, aptitude or interest in the role – and against the better judgement of Phillip’s friends.
As expected, The Upside is a learning experience for both men, as their unconventional friendship develops despite several ups and downs. Cranston is sublime in the role, while Kevin Hart delivers his usual energetic performance and the pair do have a good chemistry together.
Putting to one side criticisms about stereotypes and the black white man dynamic, however, the truth is that The Upside, in a common fault with remakes, fails to capture the charm and emotional heft of the original, despite its best efforts.
In A Nutshell:
Despite strong performances from both Cranston and Hart, it was never going to able to live up to the original classic.
The chemistry between Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston
Nicole Kidman seems a little underused and a little miscast
Too light and lacking the emotional heft of the original
Certificate: 12 / 12A