The Upside (2017)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 2017, Screenplay by , based on the motion picture Intouchables by and Cinematography by Produced by , , , Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by

After his parole officer tells him that he needs to at least prove he is looking for a job even if he can’t actually land one, answers every want-ad he can find, barely pretending to ask for the position while getting the interviewer to sign his papers.  He knows that no one wants an ex-con, but he is surprised when what he thought was an interview for a cleaning job turns out to be the opportunity to make very good money as the assistant to a quadriplegic (Bryan Cranston) who needs 24-7 care.  Cranston’s concerned financial manager Nicole Kidman strongly objects to him choosing Hart over the far more qualified candidates outside the door, but something about Hart’s fresh attitude appeals to the depressed and despondent writer whose great sorrow is the loss of his late wife.  Hart at first bungles the job, it’s a miracle the man doesn’t die in his care, but he needs the money to get his life together in order to win back his son’s love and his ex-girlfriend’s respect, so he makes an effort to succeed that eventually wins Cranston’s friendship and care.  This latest in a long line of American remakes of foreign films takes Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s Intouchables and rearranges it to suit its New York milieu but is more or less the same story, succeeding at times but not overall.  Cranston spars well with Hart and has wonderful chemistry with Kidman, but Hart’s soulless performance relies too heavily on his staccato delivery of his perpetually wordy dialogue, his character’s personality becomes trite very quickly and the actor doesn’t have the depth to save it.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2017

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