- Don Ford
Don Reviews "The Upside"
The relationship between employee and employer takes on many different forms. From the type of position that only has them deal with one another in a forty-hour work week to those that are truly all day every day, some things are universal, with the most basic one being a professional nature or one that becomes more personal. When the employer has a physical disability, it raises those stakes to a different level, and this is at the core of “The Upside”.
Directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist), Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in what is based on a true story as wealthy businessman and quadriplegic Phillip (Cranston) works with his executive associate, Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), to find him a new life auxiliary, which is a person that basically does everything for him that he cannot do for himself. Due to a mix-up in interviews, ex-con Dell (Hart) winds up getting the job despite Yvonne’s objections, and what follows is the relationship that grows between the two men.
This film is shot well, portraying New York City in just about every possible way, especially since they filmed most of it in Philadelphia. With this film being mostly Hart, Cranston, and Kidman, I felt all three of them did a good job here. The chemistry between Hart and Cranston was great, and Cranston really stands out given that his entire performance had to come from only moving his head and neck.
Now, it is well document how much I do not like remakes or reboots, and given that “The Upside” is a remake of the 2011 French film called “The Intouchables,” as well as versions in Spanish and in India, my expectations were pretty low. However, I found this to be even better than I expected with great comedic moments mixed with the drama and great performances. There are some pretty intense moments and adult situations here, but for the right audience, this is a great film that I will give my first coveted full price at the theater recommendation of 2019 to!