overlapping dialogue feels lived rather than written.
Like Hart himself, Jackman’s performance seems to be holding something back, so we are guided through the story by the supporting cast. Mamoudou Athie is terrific as the bright young reporter who is fluent in foreign policy but stumbles through personal questions; and Jenna Kanell’s Ginny, torn between loyalty to the powerful man she works for and sympathy for the young woman thrown to the wolves at his behest, is the film’s heart and conscience. (126 mins, 12A) Directed by Neil Burger; starring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman
What a difference casting can make. Intouchables, the original French film on which this is based, starred Omar Sy as the ex-con who blags himself a job as the carer for a millionaire quadriplegic. This sluggish US remake trades the generous charm of Sy’s affable screen presence for the niggling irritation of Kevin Hart. Everything that was already wrong with the original film – its sentimentality, its simplicity – is magnified. Bryan Cranston plays the venture capitalist who finds himself locked in the gilded cage of his own penthouse apartment following a paragliding accident. Nicole Kidman slips into sensible spectacles and the background as his loyal business manager. And the greatest hits of opera, bursting out of the soundtrack like an overbearing drunk at a party, are drowned out only by Hart’s dental-drill delivery.