The Upside Synopsis
The Upside is the story of a down on his luck ex-con Dell (Kevin Hart) is trying to reconnect with his ex and his son. One of the requirements is that Dell be gainfully employed. The problem is that Dell has no driving force in his life. He works harder at getting out of work than actually working. During his quest to find employment Dell stumbles across a position for a life auxiliary for a rich, disabled writer Phillip (Bryan Cranston).
Phillip has been a quadriplegic since a hang-gliding accident and has lost his will to really live life. He is only requirement from his help is that no extreme measures be taken to save his life. Phillip takes a liking to Dell’s uncouth ways and offers him a job. Yvonne (Nicole Kidman) also recognizes that Dell is extremely unqualified to be Phillip’s assistant and see this a cry for help.
An inexperienced Dell quickly learns the ropes while teaching Phillip to have a new zest for life. In turn, Phillip nurture’s Dell’s untapped potential and helps him get back on his feet. Phillip and Dell form a strong bond but have an eventual falling out. Phillip retreats back into his depression and Dell moves forward to make his life and that of his child a better one. Eventually, Phillip’s other assistants worry enough that the reach back out to Dell for help. Phillip and Dell rekindle their friendship and help each other move forward in life.
The Upside: What I Liked
The movie portrays both Dell and Phillip as strong characters; each in their own way. Phillip’s disability is true to life from what I know of quadriplegia. Cranston and Hart have good comedic timing together and there are a lot of funny moments in the film to appreciate.
The Upside: What Could Have Been Better
This movie is actually based off the French movie The Intouchables though Hollywood made the necessary changes to Americanize the film. Overall, The Upside is a formulaic movie that viewers have seen many times before; rich guy helps poor guy and they both benefit from each other. While I loved Brian Cranston in this role, I wish that filmmakers would utilize disabled actors for disabled roles. The same thing goes for Kevin Hart. The frustrating thing is that this and The Intouchables is based on true life story. In the real life situation, the rich guy is a French aristocrat and the assistant is an Arab man. Hollywood and filmmakers in general could do better by sticking to the truth.
The Upside: Final Thoughts
While there are definitely filmmaking aspects that could have been done better and few small plot-inconsistencies that could have been answered with a few more minutes of storytelling the movie is definitely a fun, “feel good” story. It is a thoroughly enjoyable film that is funny, and well-acted.
Overall Score 3.5 out 5