“The Upside,” a mediocre revamp of “The Intouchables”
Based on the hit 2012 film “The Intouchables”, STX films’ new movie “The Upside” hoped to follow in its footsteps. Unfortunately, it did far from that. The movie took the original piece, stole its heart and republished it. While the piece did have some redeeming aspects like the unlikely acting of the cast, comparing “The Upside” to “The Intouchables” only shows how mediocre the film is.
Inspired by a true story, “The Upside” is about an unlikely friendship. Dell Scott, played by Kevin Hart, is on the lookout for a job as a requirement of his parole. Phillip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston), a paralyzed billionaire who has lost his will to live, hires Scott to assist him in his daily routine. Over time, the two become close as their professional relationship develops into a beautiful friendship.
Photo courtesy of STX Films, Lantern Entertainment.
The film has some redeeming qualities. The dramedy demonstrates solid acting – for the most part. Specializing in comedy roles, actor Kevin Hart is known for films such as “Night School” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”, explaining why many are shocked to find him in this remake. With Scott’s emotions varying constantly, this was a challenge for Hart. “Dell gave me an opportunity to tap into a different level of acting on the big screen,” Hart said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “A guy that got to show emotion on different levels, from heart to anger to vulnerability — he was real.”
Hart was not the only actor who succeeds in his work, as Cranston also excels. Lacasse goes through many different emotions, from no longer wanting to live to beaming in pure joy, and Cranston is able to portray the emotions perfectly. When forgetting that the film is a remake, it excels on its own. The pathos connects with audiences and presents two messages: to normalize disability and to discover positive, life-changing opportunity amidst tragedy, both of which are handled with ease due to the actors’ performances.
Unfortunately, there were many downsides to “The Upside”. While the acting was good for its own standards, compared to “The Intouchables”, the film flops. In the original, Omar Sy as Dell Scott brings a charismatic and comedic flair to the film that Hart fails to portray. Sy received many awards and nominations for his work on the picture: he was nominated for Best Actor from Tokyo International Film Festival, nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy by Satellite Awards, nominated for Best Actor by European Film Awards and won Best Actor from César Awards. From the small details such as the locals to the unremarkable music and the boring directing, the result is a safe film that doesn’t live up to the original, which is ironic considering one of the film’s messages to take risks.
The film is simply mediocre. Its few good qualities – the sincere acting and the heartfelt message – are easily outweighed by the bad, from the comparison of the actors to the original to the fact that in every place in which the film could take risks, it decides not to, making for a truly mediocre film and solidifying its 3 out of 5 stars.
Feature photo courtesy of STX Films, Lantern Entertainment.