The synopsis will get you. A rich quadriplegic and a poor ex-convict are thrust into an unlikely relationship that has its ups and downs.
So going into the film, you will expect to experience a few moments that are endearing, if not downright cheesy.
Especially when you find out that the film is based on a true story. But what you probably won’t expect is to be emotionally moved.
Here’s the thing: I am one of probably only two people in the entire world who don’t find Kevin Hart funny.
So, I was curious to see how much of his persona he’d have to pull back to play the somewhat dramatic role of Dell Scott, a parolee who has no faith that he’ll ever be hired in a regular job.
By a weird twist of fate, Dell finds himself at a job interview to become an auxiliary staff member to a super-wealthy old man called Philip Lacasse (played by Bryan Cranston), who uses a wheelchair.
Obviously, everyone is more qualified than Dell, but also obviously, he gets the job. This is a movie, after all.
What follows is a tale about looking beyond your limitations – including the ones that are not physical.
It’s a story about second (and more) chances.
And you’d have to look beyond the tired old stereotype of Dell as a deadbeat dad trying to make things right with his ex, Latrice, played by Aja Naomi King, and their son, Anthony (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), to see that it’s also a story about being seen, and thus, validated.
The Upside has all the ingredients of a feel-good movie. Even the idea of different races working together for this one man’s good is supposed to make you feel like everything in the world can be fixed.
And even though, as an adult, you’re well aware that it’s just a movie, there is a brilliant manner in which Neil Burger and his team direct you to let down your guard.
Before you know it, you’re invested in whether Philip will ever find true love. You’re concerned about whether Anthony can forgive his father.
And most of all, you’re wondering how you haven’t rolled your eyes at Kevin Hart. Okay, okay, I’m wondering that.
The Upside is two hours of feel-good cinema that you’ll probably forget about as soon as you leave the theatre and get hit by reality again, but it’s worth the watch.