The Up­side

The Observer - The New Review - - Film -

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.

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