The Downsides of ‘The Upside’

Tyra McClung, Assistant Arts and Entertainment

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Although the drama-comedy gave a nice attempt, there were far too many downsides to “The Upside.”

The 2019 film failed to fully commit to being a bro-mantic comedy, or a heartfelt drama. The different genres had a difficult time co-existing within the plot of the movie. Because the film was advertised as a comedy with Kevin Hart as a lead, movie goers were expecting big laughs. However, if audience reaction was any indication, the jokes were not really landing.

The film, starring Hart as Dell Scott and Bryan Cranston as Phillip Lacasse, is based off of the real life friendship of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a French businessman and his former care taker Abdel Sello, a career criminal from Algeria.

Similar to the movie the two friends meet when Sello, or the character of Scott, is in need of a job so that he could claim income support. Borgo, or the character of Lacasse, hires Sello as his caretaker, and the two began blossoming a bro-mance that Brogo credits as his inspiration for his “Second Wind,” according to the Telegraph UK.

The diverse dimensions of the film force to Hart to explore the depth in his acting abilities. The audience is given the opportunity to see him in a more serious light. Although the character is made to be a humorous man, he is dealing with more serious life challenges. This allows the character to stand on his own, rather than just another film where Hart is playing himself.

Cranston puts on a moving performance as well. He always manages to display versatility in his various roles.

Cranston’s characters such as Hal, the dad from “Malcom In The Middle” and “Breaking Bad’s” Walter White, the meth dealing chemistry teacher, exemplify his range.

The film chose to lightly explore the variations of the romantic and sexual aspects of a handicap person’s relationships. There was a very compelling scene where Lacasse is on a first date, and the women he is with admits that it is more challenging than she had initially anticipated. It is a cinematic take on a real life experience that I feel should be explored further in media, helping to develop real life conversations.

Aside from their personal acting abilities the on-screen chemistry between the two men along with the rest of the cast was fantastic. It truly felt as though you were watching old friends.

Where the movie lacked, further exploration of Scott’s ventures outside of Lacasse and his employment, not considering how he had grown in his personal life during his time away. It offers insight on how Lacasse had been during the separation, but not much on Scott and I thought that was a wasted opportunity.

It is important to note that the people I saw the movie with were disengage and that could have potentially influenced my personal interest in the movie.

Overall I would give the movie 2.5 out of 5 stars. It was not amazing but I do not think it will go down as a classic, but it was solid acting. If you can appreciate that and the bond between the two men, then I recommend going to see it. However, I would encourage going on a $5 Tuesday.