Academy Award nominee Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Kevin Hart, and Academy Award Winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) come together in the long delayed The Updside, a remake of the international blockbuster 2011 French film The Intouchables.
Directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless), The Upside chronicles the unexpected friendship between Phillip Lacasse (Cranston), a Park Avenue billionaire left paralyzed after a paragliding accident, and ex-con Dell
Scott (Kevin Hart), in need of a fresh start. Newly paroled and in desperate need of a job, Dell is frustrated by the menial opportunities available to an ex-con. After finding himself at the wrong job interview Dell uses his irreverent charisma to charm Phillip, who, despite protests from his chief-of-staff Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), offers him the home aid position.
Despite a rocky start, the two quickly realize how much they can learn from each other’s experiences. From worlds apart, Phillip and Dell 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.
The Upside was originally scheduled for release in March of 2018 from The Weinstein Co., but got caught up in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Rescued by Lantern Entertainment, who made a distribution deal with STX Entertainment, the film was edited from its original R-rating to the more family friendly PG-13 rating.
Surprisingly, since most remakes are not on par with the quality of their predecessors, this film captivates. And even more surprisingly, Kevin Hart, who is known more for his comedic roles and stand-up comedy routines, is spellbinding in a serious role, playing seamlessly off veteran actor Bryan Cranston.
Every film, remake or original, should be judged on its own merit. And this film works in every way.
The Upside Review by Tim Nasson