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The Upside has been out for quite some time so it's even surprising to me that it took me this long to watch it since I was a fan of the original French version called Intouchables. I know a lot of people harping on this movie because it's a remake of a great French movie. It really is a good movie because I watched it in French and I really enjoyed it. This is why I was curious about how Hollywood would translate this movie for an American audience.
This iteration of the movie called The Upside stars Kevin Hart as an ex-convict named Dell. He's recently gotten out of prison and is on parole. As part of his obligations under parole, he has to be applying for work. He has no aspirations for working so he's been failing job interviews on purpose so that they can sign his papers claiming that he's actually attempting to apply for work.
On the other "side" of the spectrum, we have Bryan Cranston playing Philip an incredibly rich author/business consultant that has recently become paralyzed. He's also recently lost his wife and is going through a great personal depression. He hires on Dell to help him with his daily routines. This is presumably because Philip no longer wants to live anymore and thinks Dell will do a bad job and let him die.
They eventually build a relationship and there's all sorts of comedy that ensues because of the unlikely relationship between these two contrasting characters. For those that have seen Intouchables, I am happy to report that much of the original content is transferred over to The Upside. There are a few changes here and there but the bulk of the movie is still there.
Much like Intouchables, there are fairly predictable elements to this movie that you'll be expecting. Much of the joy that Intouchables had was the charm in the relationship between the characters and this is on point as well. You have this same feeling that the characters are truly friends. I don't think that The Upside has as much charm as Intouchables, but that could be because when I saw Intouchables for the first time it was fresh but there are certain elements that I see in Upside that didn't quite match the original.
In the beginning of the movie, I found Kevin Hart's acting kind of forced and not so natural. I didn't really buy him as an ex-con looking for work. He didn't seem believable to me. There was something about the acting that seemed really off. Perhaps I've typecast-ed him in my own head as this goofy actor trying to play a serious role. I thought Bryan Cranston did a great job as Philip though. Kevin Hart got better as the movie went on though but later on his character become a little wackier. This made it easier for me to see him as the character. I get it, it's his first serious role and he's trying to broaden his horizons and I commend him for that.
For those that watched the original and want to know whether it's worth it to watch this American version, it's hard to tell. Some people will not want to watch it and already have preconceived notions of the American version. Those people shouldn't watch it. As for the rest, I would say give it a shot. You liked the original and it's not that much different. You'll already know what's going to happen so it's no big deal. It's just another take on the story. This happens all the time when films are adapted into Broadway shows or TV shows, etc. We still watch them, and in this case, it's an easy watch.
For those that haven't seen it before and want to watch a feel-good movie, I would highly recommend the movie. It's a fun entertaining ride that has some wooden acting in the beginning by Kevin Hart but it gets better. There are a lot of predictable scenes in this movie but you don't go to a feel-good movie to be thrown off and expect disaster. You're there to make the movie make you feel a little better about life and this is one of those movies.
Overall, I still enjoyed the movie and I would probably watch it again if I had the opportunity but only if it's free. I still had a good feeling after watching this movie and I still liked each of the characters by the end of the movie. So I think I'll give this movie an 8 out of 10. I'm sure this is one of those movies that will be rerunning on TV for quite a while in the future.