Whether you like it or not, friendship is something our species can’t live without. The feeling of affection between us humans is something that’s been with us since the beginning of time. We depend on our interactions with others to survive. Some say that we don’t need friendships to survive, but more often than not, the ones saying that are the ones who desperately want it. Friendships also help us see the world differently than before. Such friendships are the subject of the new film The Upside, which is a remake of the French film The Intouchables.
The film follows Dell (Kevin Hart) a man looking for work so he can support his struggling family after getting out of prison. Unable to put his best foot forward, his journey leads him to the home of a rich quadriplegic named Phillip (Bryan Cranston). Though his assistant Yvonne (Nicole Kidman) thinks otherwise, Phillip hires Dell to be his live-in assistant. Dell’s methods are rather questionable, but he and Phillip soon develop a friendship that changes both their lives for the better.
Yes, we live in a time of remakes. They’re not the best kind of films out there, but they’ve proven to be big box offices successes. Unfortunately, Hollywood studios always flock towards whatever the biggest money makers are. Last year’s A Star Is Born proved that, when in the hands of someone competent, remakes can be a good things. Rather than complain, we should just accept that this is what we get today.
That being said, The Upside is further proof that remakes can be a good thing. This had to be the first feel good movie of the year. It manages to combine hardy laughs with genuine drama bolstered by great performances and likable characters. Some of the better parts of this film are the ones focusing on the relationship between the two main characters, because that’s where the true heart of the film is.
The humor is among the highlights of this film. For once, we get a modern American comedy that isn’t mean-spirited or relied on gross, sexual-based improv. The jokes in this film were based around the relationship with between Hart and Cranston, as well as the love/hate relationship between Hart and Kidman. This produces genuine laughs that make us love the characters and want to watch their exploits.
Another highlight from the film was Hart and Cranston. Not only were their performances great, but they were perfectly matched together. They had amazing chemistry together that made us feel like they were always destined to star in a film together. They worked so well together, and it makes us want to see them in more movies together in the future.
Along with the good-natured humor of the film came some good drama as well. This film new how to balance the goofy antics of the characters with a good story that made us actually care for the characters. The filmmakers didn’t just decide to make the characters mean-spirited so we didn’t have to waist time caring for them. These characters were people we could actually care for rather than loathe.
The Upside may be a remake, but it’s one that is worthy of a recommendation. It doesn’t adhere to what other Hollywood comedies are made of these days. They have characters that we can really like, humor that doesn’t gross us out, and two stars that couldn’t be more perfect for each other. Remakes are a fad that aren’t ideal, but as long as we have them, we should at least embrace them, because eventually ones like this are quite enjoyable.