The Upside review by Bobby Blakey

Kevin Hart has been on quite a role with numerous successful feature films and standup tours. Now he is teaming up with the always great Bryan Cranston for a remake of the film Intouchable called The Upside from Divergent and The Illusionist director Neil Burger. The film co-stars Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, and Aja Naomi King, but could it do the original feature justice or will it be a film unable to move the audience?

The Upside follows recently paroled ex-convict, Dell, who strikes up an unusual and unlikely friendship with a quadriplegic billionaire, Phillip Lacasse. From worlds apart, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely bond, bridging their differences and gaining invaluable wisdom in the process, giving each man a renewed sense of passion for all of life’s possibilities. I have never seen the original, but being a fan of both actors I was looking forward to seeing this one. I am glad to say I wasn’t disappointed as it offered up heart, laughs and an overall great story.

It’s not surprising that Cranston was so good here, but even more props for him to have to do this role without moving anything, but his head able to move. He brings all the emotions necessary to believe this guy’s issues from anger to frustration. Dealing with this sort of life change is nothing any of us could truly understand without going through it, but you believe that Cranston is dealing with it here. I love seeing actors step out of their normal genre and Hart does it to perfection. Sure there are laughs here, but he has to shoulder some heavy dramatic responsibility as well and does it like a pro.

These guys have great chemistry and are both fun and touching to watch from beginning to end. I wasn’t  fan of the way they started the film with a later moment before flashing back as it felt unnecessary, but at the same time it didn’t hurt it either. There were a lot of directions they could have gone with story elements to be more Hollywood so I was glad to see they didn’t go full clichéd and went some new directions. Sure it’s nothing you can’t figure out but it helps the film feel more real to me.

I really enjoyed this hope it gets the credit it deserves. Is it better or as good as the original? I have no idea, but I can tell you it is good on its own. For those not a fan of Hart’s usual hijinks this is a different look at him that you should give a shot. Whether you are a fan of the original or not The Upside delivered everything I hoped for.  

In addition to the film this release features bonus content including deleted scenes, trailer, gag reel and numerous featurettes taking you behind bringing this film to life. Join this unlikely pair when The Upside available now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.

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