Kevin Hart is one of the better stand up comedians to come up in the last 20 years, his story telling ability and comedic rythym and confidence are some of the best skills I have ever seen, including even Richard Pryor. Hart is one of the very few who have parlayed his stand up success as a stand up into acting in comedy movies. With the exception of Hart’s stand up comedy movies, most of the other films he has made (with the possible exception of Jumanji), have been for the most part not good enough to show Hart’s talent.
The new film “The Upside” with Nicole Kidman and Bryan Cranston is Hart’s first mostly serious role and the difference with this movie is – the quality of the screenplay. The Upside is a true story of a wealthy man played by Cranston who become paraplegic due to a hang glider accident – and hires an x-con who had no experience as a care taker. I thought the contrasting realities and the questions that arise from this were extremely well done. Is it worse to be unable to move for the rest of your life, or dirt poor and an x-con with no chance of ever getting any decent job? When you think about it, despite the unlimited wealth – the majority of human beings in this world would choose to be able to move, even if that meant that they would be extremely poor and perhaps even homeless.
I thought the acting in this movie was extremely well done and for the first time Hart showed that he can be a very good serious actor in a movie. What makes no sense to me are the very low numbers on Rotten Tomatoes, only 33% and only a 3.8 rating on IMDB. I can only conclude that these unfair and inaccurate low ratings are a direct result of Kevin Hart’s recent controversy with the Oscars and his apology for comments he made in 2011. All of this is unfair to bash a movie that is overall very good, based on comments that were made in a Tweet so many years ago that Hart has already apologized for several times.
I give The Upside a solid 80% rating and I do recommend it. In this case, the critics are definitely wrong.