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the upside

DIRECTOR: neil burger (divergent, limitless)
STARRING: bryan cranston, kevin hart, nicole kidman, and Julianna Margulies


REVIEWER: lyall carter


The Upside explores the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who's hired to help him.

On the surface Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart might seem like strange bedfellows with Cranston having moved into more 'dramatic' projects of late. But the two have incredible comedic chemistry which makes The Upside a real, unexpected treat. 


Philip is a disabled white billionaire, who feels that life is not worth living. To help him in his day to day routine, he hires Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his estranged wife. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy charge that life is worth living.

The Upside didn't get a cinematic release in New Zealand which I was surprised by with the popularity and like ability of Cranston and the general public's growing knowledge of Hart due to his Netflix specials. I thought that the film must have been a dud of some kind, but its surprisingly good. 

The film is based on the 2011 French film The Untouchables, and follows a similar story line. All of which is engaging, funny, and really heart warming. Although some might say it is cliched, originality is not always the marker of a films quality in my opinion. 

The Upside's issue lies in its third act. It feels really rushed like Game of Thrones Season Eight rushed. There are decisions made that don't make sense according to their own logic which has been developed in the previous two acts. Then there is a reconciliation that again makes no logical sense. 

That being said Cranston and Hart are magnificent and save the film from its final act. There performances really compliment each others and have a palpable chemistry and comedic rapport.  

Brilliant performances from Cranston and Hart save The Upside from its rushed third act making it a truly delightful surprise. 


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The Upside is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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