Remakes they come and they come again because of the work being laid out for them. Not going down that road, my last review of the week is yet another remake of a true story that hopes to ring its own bell in the world of comedy and drama with a modern flare. Welcome to another Robbie’s Movie Reviews and today we hit the film:
Movie: The Upside (2018 wide release date)
Balance of Comedy
The Upside is a remake that really mirrors the predecessor, but brings the modern spin on it. Where the first installment was a little more artistic in the telling of the sad story, this remake has more energy and pacing to its approach. The Upside takes a sadder story and brings with it a fun adventure that tries to fight the darkness for much of the film. It reminded me of the presentation from the Bucket List and given some of the trips and cars that atmosphere adds to some of the entertainment value.
Yet the stars of the show really come in the comedy direction and the actors who bring it out. The Upside’s comedy is not the usual Hart hat of tricks, which is usually yelling fanatically and shoving one-liners down your throat. Instead, the Upside focuses on putting the comedy into the story, preferring to time simple comedy antics and add a realistic conversational tone to it. The result, is a grounded comedy scheme that keeps things entertaining, all while keeping the film going. To make the jokes sparkle, the two leading actors bring their talents to the front, mixing their styles together in an acting favorable mixture that is the solid pillar of this film. Cranston’s sarcasm and character focused approach works for this title, bringing dryer humor and some story to keep the film running. Hart on the other hand has really dropped to a more serious role, mixing his usual edgy delivery with a laxer approach. The two play-off of each other really well, building that buddy relationship that is always fun to join in on the adventure. It’s the heart and soul of the movie, and fans of these two will probably enjoy this dynamic like I did.
Missing the Adventure component
Secondary Character Use
Ironically, the thing this movie has trouble living up to, is the storytelling aspect for me. Don’t get me wrong, the movie has a solid story in terms of the buddy/buddy relationship of the film, but it doesn’t quite maximize the potential of it or the backstory components. Some side stories about both characters histories are included for completion sake and give you the info you need, yet the film lacks the facing the impasses and trying to grow. As such, much of the problems are sort of swept under the rug in a solution like manner. Perhaps you are thinking the fun of the movie will offset it, and at times it does, but the Upside does not quite get to the same levels as the Bucket List for Me. The adventure is gone out of it for me, and while still entertaining, could have been maximized to offset the lackluster story elements.
In regards to the secondary character development… it is okay. Nicole Kidman was a plus, not quite fully utilized, but included enough to not overshadow the central characters, yet again not fully utilized when her backstory and involvement started to get into the mix. Hart’s family characters, the rival, even the other supportive members of Phil’s team were not as inclusive as I think they could have been. The result as you are hearing is again, the attempts at telling an all-inclusive story, but not quite delving into the details like they wanted.
As such, the main thing I had an issue with in the movie, was the editing/direction not quite coming together the way I expected from the trailer. It’s not awful at all, but I think this production had a little trouble figuring out what direction it wanted to take the movie into. Enough inclusion to give you the story, but not enough to reach the full potential it’s European cousin was able to tell years ago. Still, it is a fun adventure to say the least.
Truth be told, I enjoyed the Upside and felt that I get a little something in each of the categories. It’s funny, with great acting chemistry and energy to offset the sadness of the situation that the trailers painted. Yet, the buddy comedy we might have expected is not going to be to the full effect for most and the story elements could have used some bulking up to reach the expected magnitude I think it really wanted to go far. All in all though, this remake is certainly something to check out when you can, but I can’t quite say it was the movie theater visit of the month (though it was the best of the four this week). As such, here are my scores:
Movie Overall: 6.0