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No downside to “The Upside”

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No downside to “The Upside”

Cassidy Sutton, Journalism 1

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There truly are no downsides to the new comedy-drama bromance “The Upside”, between Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston.

Directed by Paul Feig (“A Simple Favor”). “The Upside” film takes the 2011 French film “The Intouchables”, which is also based on the true story of Phillipe Pozzo di Borgo and adds humorous scenes and memorable moments. Just like in the 2013 Feig film “The Heat”, two different actors with two different personalities are thrown together for a great comedy.

The film stars Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as Phillip Lacasse who is a quadriplegic billionaire looking for a caretaker. Hart (“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”) Dell Scott, an ex-con artist who has recently been paroled and is searching for employment. Scott mistakenly goes to Lacasse’s apartment for a job interview he thought was for a janitorial position. The two sparked a connection that was loving and funny at the same time.

The plot is easy to follow and is not as predictable as some may think. The film takes the audience through the life of Lacasse, a man who has anything he could ever wish for, except the ability to do anything for himself. It also takes the audience through the life story of Scott, a former criminal who is trying to right his wrong but is struggling to make ends meet. The two opposites end up being exactly what the other one needs.

Lacasse hires Scott to be his caretaker despite his lack of experience. Scott takes the job without any idea of what he will have to be doing. The job starts out to be very difficult for Scott and nothing like he expected. Soon though, he takes notice in the attitude and sadness that Lacasse gives off, and he doesn’t understand how someone with so much money could be so miserable. So, he takes matters into his own hands and flips Lacasse’s whole world upside down.

The cliché roll of a caretaker is taken above and beyond with Hart’s performance. Usually, the audience is used to seeing Hart portrayed as just a comedian, but in this film the audience sees a more genuine side to Hart. As seen in past films starring Hart, such as his most recent film “Night School”, Hart can take any scene and bring it alive with humor.

But it isn’t just Hart who likes to bring the comedy to the screen, Cranston brings out the sarcastic side of his charming character to provoke Scott and his attitude. Cranston tackles the role of a quadriplegic with dignity and respect by bringing joy to hard situation. Both characters with different, humorous personalities help spark their chemistry and enhance their friendship.

The film is visually pleasing to the eye. Cinematographer, Stuart Dryburgh (“Alice Through the Looking Glass”), takes the audience through the penthouses of the privileged and the slums of New York to show the different lives of both characters.

Scott and Lacasse are not the only two people who stay in the penthouse, Nicole Kidman (“Before I Go to Sleep”) plays Yvonne Pendleton, a business woman who works for Lacasse and spends a lot of time at his house. Her performance was somewhat dry since her character was not really any fun. The role of Pendleton was meant to be boring to show how Lacasse’s life is now.  Kidman’s character is very serious especially where Lacasse is concerned. She does not like Scott due to his lack of knowledge on being a caretaker, but she learns to loosen up a little.

Sound director Neil Burger fills the film with classic R&B such as Aretha Franklin’s “You Better Think” and Opera music such as pieces by Mozart. The two characters have different views on how to have fun, and through music they teach one another. Scott shows Lacasse how to get out and see the world while listening to his “queen” and smoking cannabis. On the other hand, Lacasse shows Scott how to enjoy culture like the opera or art.

Although this movie is a funny, heartwarming story, it isn’t one to for young eyes. The use of drugs and profanity varies throughout the movie. Scott and Lacasse use marijuana to dull the pain, which doesn’t put the right ideas into young minds. The run time of this movie is two hours and six minutes which is a perfect amount of time to get the full story without getting bored. The movie is rated PG-13, but the story has many important messages for younger viewers, such as the way society views people with disabilities. Scott makes it clear to everyone that Lacasse is a person and should be treated the same way as everyone else.

In the end, the audience will leave this film ready to see the upside to life.


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No downside to “The Upside”