“The Upside”, a drama/comedy starring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, and Nicole Kidman, is based on the life of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a French businessman who became a quadriplegic in 1993 from a paragliding accident. (It also follows a French film based on the story.) The tale is about an ex-convict Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) who gets hired as an auxiliary aid for quadriplegic billionaire Phillip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston). It has some laughs, some heart, and many stereotypes about relationships such as the one between these two characters – so much so that this film becomes predictable.
Hart’s character gets chosen to be the aide for Lacasse, even though he is largely unqualified. Dell teaches Lacasse about confidence, women, and music. Similarly, Lacasse teaches Dell lessons of his own. This concept might seem confusing, but I assure you if you see the film you will understand. Their personalities work well together in an unlikely friendship. But, they come into conflict soon enough, which leads to a temporary falling out just before they reconcile and become better off because of their differences. It has elements of “Green Book,” but more so the essence of “Scent of a Woman,” yet it’s not as good as either film.
I’ve always liked Hart, and his comedy, especially his stand-up. Typically, I don’t always see Hart hitting the comedic mark in his films. But this isn’t a typical Kevin Hart movie because the comedy is underlain by intense tragedy; we get to see a more range in his acting abilities.
Despite the obvious cliché of the situation involving two people from different sides of the track getting together, the story is crazy enough to compel the curiosity of the audience. Furthermore, the brand of comedy in this film is charming. Check this out when it comes out on DVD.