Synopsis and information obtained from
Edited by Ariel Landrum

 Grade: B+


Typically the month of January is the dumping ground for studios to release the movies that lack the studio’s confidence. Usually Hollywood’s junk fare lives and dies rather quickly in January. When trying to name a good movie born out of January, my mind is literally blank. Even after a few Google searches, I honestly cannot name one. Director Neil Burger’s The Upside is, surprisingly, a diamond in the rough.

The Upside is based on a 2011 French film called The Intouchables, and both movies are based on a true heartwarming story. Kevin Hart plays Dell who is a parolee, from the streets, looking for work. Bryan Cranston plays Phil who is your typical expensive flat in NYC living billionaire who is unfortunately a paraplegic. Phil is looking for someone to become his aid, and decides to give Dell a shot at the job, even though according to Phil, Dell is the least qualified for the job.

Instantly Dell is disliked by Phil’s assistant, Yvonne, played by Nicole Kidman. She attempts at first to make his experience difficult in hopes of scaring him off so another (more qualified) candidate would take his place. Naturally, when Dell and Phil interact, coming from completely different backgrounds and cultures, things tend to go south. The audience is gifted with a story that will make us laugh and cheer as we get taken along for the ride with these two differing souls.

Cranston does an excellent job acting as Phil. Needless to say, he is one of the finest actors of our time and his role as Phil is portrayed in a very realistic way that we almost believe Cranston is actually paralyzed. It isn’t easy to act with just your head and facial expressions, but Cranston does it with ease. Kevin Hart has always been a funny comedian to me and he also does a great job in the movie.  Dell’s role really came off as if he was trying to turn his life around for an unselfish reason (I won’t get into spoilers of course).

The cinematography and look of the movie was spot on as a majority of the movie has a blue greyish filter on it to express the sadness of Phil and his state of mind.  Even though you spend your time laughing through the majority of the film, Phil’s mood usually remained hum drum and down, with Dell’s job to help Phil change his outlook on life.

The Upside was a welcome offering to kick off 2019, and I enjoyed it way more than I was expecting. It is a funny and touching story that is sure to bring a smile upon anyone’s face. Currently at the time of writing this review, The Upside is sitting at a 39% with the critics at Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience has it at a more appropriate 88%. This movie is not to be missed and unfortunately since it is January, it will be overlooked by so many people. Do yourself a favor and head out to the movies and have a good time with The Upside!

Rated: PG-13 (for suggestive content and drug use)
Director: Neil Burger
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, and Aja Naomi King
Screenwriter: Jon Hartmere
Genre: Comedy

Written by Jon Hartmere, the English-language remake reinvents the French classic, "The Intouchables," that took the world by storm and went on to gross over $400 million worldwide – making it the second highest grossing non-English language film of all time. "The Upside" chronicles the unexpected friendship between Phillip Lacasse (Cranston), a Park Avenue billionaire left paralyzed after a hang-gliding accident, and convicted felon Dell (Hart), recently released from prison and in need of a job and a fresh start. From worlds apart, Phillip and Dell form an unlikely bond, bridging their differences and gaining invaluable wisdom in the process, giving each man a renewed sense of passion for all of life’s possibilities.

Follow Billy M. on Twitter: @TheMovieGrader