*WARNING* There will be spoilers in this review, you’ve be warned!
Not knowing anything about the film, added to the not so favourable reviews I was going into this with low expectations. But like everyone does, I like to judge films for myself and to my relief it was ok.
Philip (Bryan Cranston) quadriplegic who needs a caretaker to help him with day-to-day life in his penthouse decides to hire Dell (Kevin Hart), parolee, that is trying to reconnect with his ex and son. Despite coming from two different worlds, an unlikely friendship starts to blossom.
You can see Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston enjoyed working with each other. If their chemistry didn’t work then the film falls flat but it works very well. They played off each other nicely.
I enjoyed watching Kevin Hart in a more serious role because as he’s a comedian he’s mostly in comedic movies. That being said, I didn’t like his character but his performance I would say is his best to date, he was very charming. Bryan Cranston was also good, playing a quadriplegic character, even though there was controversy surrounding these two actors, it didn’t effect
I had fun watching Dell and Phillip’s friendship develop, the struggles that Phillip has to deal with, the loneliness that he feels, the passion that he had before he became a quadriplegic made me feel sorry for him because he had all that taken away and you can see this in his emotions, most notably his facial expressions and his actions.
Some jokes and one-liners did make me chuckle which was unexpected but the rest of the humour while not bad it just didn’t work for me. There was a joke about women (not in a bad way) and it mad me laugh but even though it did make me laugh it went on for a little too long, felt dragged out.
The story had a nice flow to it and hitting all the right emotions even though there were no surprises and ended up being quite predictable. The pacing was good, it never left me checking my phone or the time. I find with films like this if you get the pacing of the story incorrect then it can feel a bit stale and drawn out.
The cinematography took me by surprise, it was very good in scenes. The stand outs for me personally were the scenes in the car when Phillip and Dell were driving, they were captured beautifully.
The balance of the film at times was off, it tries to be funny/cute but at other times an Oscar-bait drama and it didn’t worked well. It went through some situations too quickly and would have liked the film to delve into more detail. Felt rushed in areas which made me lose interest in what was happening. The stand out moment would be Phillips love interest, the film sort of skimmed through it which was dissapointing.
At 123 minutes (2 hours and 3 minutes) it does tend to drag and doesn’t need to be this long. They focused on areas like Dells backstory and being on parole and I’ve seen this plenty of times before. Wasted run time where they could have developed other areas of the film to make it more meaningful.
The writing could’ve spent more time in the writer’s office. It didn’t
The stereotyping of Dell didn’t sit well with me either, an African American who’s consumed with how life has screwed him over and that he’s neglected of his duties as a father to his young son. It’s a stereotype, no thank you.
All I wanted was wonderful chemistry, good performances, some nice cinematography and decent pacing. However, despite its numerous flaws I thought The Upside was a fine watch. Wouldn’t watch again anytime soon.