Part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, “The Upside” is a heartfelt comedy starring Brian Cranston (from Breaking Bad).
I’m not going to dissect this scene by scene, because sometimes you just need to laugh. This comedy/tragedy did the trick.
I didn’t realize at first that it is a remake of a French film called “The Intouchables” from the Weinstein company which was an International success, shown here in 2013. It was one of the most successful French films in the history of French cinema. Otherwise, I might not have chosen to see “The Upside” because I don’t understand the need to make Americanized copies or adaptations of original foreign films that have proven to be excellent. One example: I loved “La Cage aux Folles”, the 1978 Franco-Italian comedy. Later in 1996, “The Birdcage” was a remake directed by Mike Nichols and starring Robin Williams. In most cases I find the original to be the best version. But since they continue to recreate these films reasonably well and with an excellent English speaking cast…
“The Upside” stars Brian Cranston as a wealthy yet very cynical quadriplegia who is looking to hire a full time caretaker. When he decides to hire a fast talking parolee, the fun begins. Kevin Hart (who may or may not host the 2019 Oscars – it’s still up for debate) plays a down on his luck, wise-cracking guy trying to prove to his parole officer that he’s looking for work. I would say this is an unlikely pairing except for the fact that it is based on a true story and confirms the fact that opposites do indeed attract.
Nicole Kidman plays a humdrum assistant. For such an amazing actress, this part does not do her justice.
Julianna Margulies has a small part as potential love interest which comes to an embarrasingly unfortunate ending in a restaurant.
Overall, this movie was entertaining and the characters were excellently portrayed. It brought many laughs. Sometimes I think that’s enough.
A little trivia: this was the first film production for Malia Obama, daughter of Barack & Michelle Obama. She worked as an intern for The Weinstein Company during filming.
Originally to be distributed by The Weinstein Company in March 2018, the film was shelved and sold off following Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. It was eventually bought by STX Entertainment and Lantern Entertainment, who then scheduled it to be released in the United States on January 11, 2019.