No subversion in this version
The Hart-Cranston film is a passably adequate remake of a much better 2011 French film Less Upside with Weinstein
There is an upside to this remake of the 2011 French film, The Intouchables: It’s not as terrible as one might expect.
Movies remade from other movies are almost always pretty awful and U.S. filmmakers are particularly lousy at remaking them. This one is passably OK, sort of somewhere on the spectrum between the experience of True Grit, where the 2010 sequel was leaps and bounds better than the 1969 John Wayne original, and Hairspray, whose 1988 original was way, way, way better than the inexecrably horrid 2007 remake.
The opening segment featuring a madcap car chase shows one just what to expect. It’s sorta fun but not nearly as darkly comic and subversive as the original. This time out, we have Bryan Bryan Cranston, left, and Kevin Hart in The Upside, which proves that just because a movie was good, it doesn’t mean the remake will be too. DAVID LEE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cranston playing Phillip Lacasse, a wealthy New Yorker rendered quadriplegic in a paragliding accident, who decides to hire a very unqualified Black man named Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) as his “life auxiliary.” Lacasse, worn down by sorrow and rage, really doesn’t want another chirpy, life-affirming caregiver. He really just wants to check out permanently.
The ever-reliable Cranston delivers a well-modulated performance that works so well because he doesn’t seek to exploit our sympathies. Hart, whose comic stylings tend toward the loud and obnoxious, wisely chooses to dial things down — way down. MOVIES In one of last year’s biggest entertainment stories, Kevin Hart lost his much-coveted gig hosting the Oscars after his homophobic tweets resurfaced.
But not all career wounds are self-inflicted.
Hart had nothing to do with the problem involving his new movie The Upside — in fact, he’s reported to have given one of his best performances in this remake of the 2011 French hit The Intouchables.
Variety, in its middling review of the film, says he gives “a rangier performance that adds sincerity and heart to his manically funny persona.”
It was filmed in Philadelphia nearly two years ago and features Hart as a streetwise guy hired as a caregiver to a wealthy man with a disability (Bryan Cranston).
The script-to-screen journey of The Upside, though, turned out to have a major downside: it was produced by the Weinstein Co. Hart and Cranston in The Upside, whose wider release was delayed by about a year.
And when Harvey Weinstein was hit with multiple allegations of harassment, and ultimately a charge of sexual assault, the company slipped into the limbo of bankruptcy, tying up a slate of movies.