When it comes to remakes, I found the french version “The Intouchables” (2011) slightly better than “The Upside.” “The Intouchables” was a film that stuck well to the actual story between a quadriplegic and his caregiver. “The Upside” is the same but is made more to be a Blockbuster film and cares much more about the comedic moments instead of the importance of the story. “The Intouchables” is also much more realistic than “The Upside” because it was a very independent film made on a low budget. That low budget aspect (I believe) is something that serves as a value to the “The Intouchables” successful box office record overseas because that is generally an element that makes directors focus on to make their films successful. “The Upside” had a high budget, which is not surprising because of it stars Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, and Nicole Kidman. This remake does not really ruin the true story of the actual quadriplegic and his caregiver, it just makes viewers appreciate “The Intouchables” more.
The film focuses on a man named Dell Scott (Hart) who is divorced with a son, has tons of financial problems, and is desperate for a job. He comes across a job opportunity with a quadriplegic billionaire named Philip Lacasse (Cranston). Lacasse wants someone to help him with his daily routines. Lacasse and his assistant Yvonne Pendleton (Kidman) review Scott’s background, and with it being kind of messy and all over the place, Pendleton is against the idea of hiring Scott. Lacasse takes the chance and hires Scott anyway. Lacasse does not feel his life is worth living, and even though in the beginning Scott and Lacasse do not get along, they come to realize that there is more positivity in life than they think.
I did enjoy “The Upside” but like I said earlier, I feel that it is not as faithful as “The Intouchables.” I remember “The Intouchables” did not really heavily focus on the life outside of the caregiver, its primary focus was the caregiver being with the quadriplegic man he is hired to take care of. “The Upside” I felt was too made for Hollywood because of how it has common relationship problem setup as most dramas in blockbusters have. That drama is one parent trying to prove they are worthy to their kid and fighting for them. Then after there is some reconciliation, then there is another problem, and eventually a climax. Just as I was watching “The Upside” I felt part of the film was predictable and kind of trying to repeat some but not all of “The Intouchables.”
Now to try and focus on positive elements of “The Upside” I felt it was heartfelt and touching at moments. It does do a good job at showing why it is important to establish positive connections with other people we come across in our lives. Also how to experience to the fullest despite our challenges. Hart and Cranston are quite talented at playing people that come to realizations of mistakes they made in life. These mistakes are elements viewers can find out about if they decide to watch “The Upside.”
I felt that for Kidman that this role was a good change of pace for her. She generally does a variety of roles, but it was nice to see her perform in a charming comedy, because I think it has been a while since she has done a film like this. Generally, I am use to seeing her play darker roles in her films. For Cranston, I felt it was a different, but good character for him to play as well. He was not the crazy Walter White running around cooking up drugs in trailer parks in this one, Cranston was someone who has anger in this film, but cannot express it physically based on playing a quadriplegic. Finally, Hart was average for the role, I feel he can do a whole range of movies. I will say this was probably the first movie I have seen him do where it is a dark comedy, because literally all of his films are either slapstick comedy or of course him taping his stand-up specials and putting them into cinemas.
I am not saying avoid “The Upside” but I will say watch “The Intouchables” before checking this one out. That is because “The Intouchables has also more Oscar-worthy performances and top-notch acting, and “The Upside” is (I might have explained this earlier in this review) typical and obvious. “The Upside” is not bad whatsoever, just there was more added to this story for blockbuster value, but that is how I feel. Overall, I will say two and a half stars for “The Upside.”