REVIEW: Cranston & Hart are dynamic in average remake

Another year, another remake of a classic foreign film. This time, it’s The Intouchables, a French film that ranks as one of my unequivocal favourites.

For myself, that film was untouchable, and yet here we are, with The Upside, a hijinks-laden flick about a quadriplegic and his ex-con caretaker.

The original, from directors Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, was a tender, moving comedy with a beating heart.

You better believe Hart brings the funny, and the pairing of him and Cranston is brilliant. But one can’t help but feel like something is missing here.

Director Neil Burger has done better, more sensitive work, including cult classic The Illusionist. This film is about as subtle as a hammer on the head, but it narrowly succeeds in spite of itself.

Cranston and Hart are pitch perfect, Nicole Kidman gives a warm supporting performance, and it’s all in good fun at the end.

What it loses in immersive wit, The Upside sure makes up for in exuberance, annoying charm and a knack for pulling you back in just as it begins to veer off course.

The Upside is not a perfect film, and yet, it mostly succeeds in a fashion that’s unexpected given the high calibre of its source material.

At a time when movie-going has become more a tedious labour than an escape, this one may just be what you want, even if it isn’t what you need.

3/5 Stars

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