The Upside

The Plot:

Phillip (Bryan Cranston), a wealthy and curmudgeonly quadriplegic, seeks yet another live-in caretaker in his New York penthouse. He hires ex-con Dell (Kevin Hart) and they form an unlikely friendship, as Dell shows Phillip life is worth living.

Lynn’s Take:

The likability of lead performers Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart goes a long way to make this film palatable.

Based on a true story, this is a feel-good yet predictable American remake of the uplifting 2011 French film, “The Intouchables,” which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

It’s out now after a lengthy delay -- was stuck in limbo after fall 2017 because of the Weinstein Company’s woes. Lantern Entertainment purchased the bankrupt company’s assets, and that’s why it’s out now in January, which is always a mixed bag of releases.

The men’s relationship is the key to making the movie work. Cranston – Tony and Emmy winner and Oscar nominee -- is always authentic. However, Hart shows more depth and dramatic chops than he ever has on screen. Oh, sure he is funny in that street-wise way he is famous for, but as a deadbeat dad to a son he’s always disappointing, he displays real growth.

A steady paycheck helps him make amends with his ex and son, and Hart and Cranston’s chemistry smooths over the syrupy aspects of the story.

The stereotypical characters may be drawn in broad strokes, but sometimes a message about life is worth living despite all our travails.