The Upside – Wonderful Remake of the French Classic with Well-Founded Laughs

Philip is a disabled white billionaire, who feels that life is not worth living. To help him in his day to day routine, he hires Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his estranged wife. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy charge that life is worth living. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs.” See his full review below.

The Upside
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs. Anyone looking for a packed “January movie” will find a perfect outing.

Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in THE UPSIDE David Lee/Photographer

Inspired by an incredible true story, the movie follows a recently released ex-convict named Dell (Kevin Hart), as he seeks employment to do right by his family’s financial needs and regain their trust. He finds the most unusual employment with an offer to care-take the paralyzed billionaire Phillip (Bryan Cranston). Most don’t believe in Dell’s capabilities, especially chief executive Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), with Dell failing, but slowly learning to care-take. Amidst this process, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely friendship and journey, bettering themselves.

Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in THE UPSIDE.

Kevin Hart, as Dell, is my favorite character, as he steps into newfound dramatic territory and delivers exceptionally. As always, his unique sense of humor remains and he is as better than ever with the amicable chemistry he shares with Bryan Cranston. Bryan Cranston, as Phillip, delivers a gravitas to his character when needed, as his condition make him hopeless. In only a way Cranston can deliver, his journey to regain hope and optimism through Dell is very compelling. It also helps that their unique banter is just so funny and intellectually executed. Nicole Kidman, as Yvonne, is another relatable character, as even she learns to smile from Dell, despite her disagreements. Her long history with Phillip is well sold, as well.

Bryan Cranston stars in THE UPSIDE David Lee/Photographer

Neil Burger serviceably directs the movie, with a great eye for scenery, even if many scenes fall within a repetitive layout at times. My favorite scene is the haircut scene, as it is a fun rendition of the classic French scene and even has more nuances of its own. The main problem with this movie comes from the fact that, in comparison to its French counterpart, there really isn’t much of a difference with a few scenes and characters having some subtleties. At times, its pace even takes a hit and even the newer additions don’t fare as well as the original. This can be viewed as a bit of a pro, as sticking with the original does prove to its advantage.

The message of this film is that a friendship is a relationship most valued and will always remain irreplaceable. If we all get along, we will strive towards greatness and a happier mental well-being. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of some sexual references and brief drug use. The movie releases in theaters on January 11, 2019, so check it out.

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