The Upside

The Upside is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed by Neil Burger and written by Jon Hartmere. It is a remake of the French 2011 film The Intouchables, which was itself inspired by the life of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. The film follows a paralyzed billionaire (Bryan Cranston) who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a recently paroled convict (Kevin Hart) whom he hires to take care of him. Nicole Kidman, Golshifteh Farahani, and Julianna Margulies also star. It is the third remake of The Intouchables after the Indian film Oopiri and the Argentinian film Inseparables (both 2016).

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The Upside
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNeil Burger
Produced by
Screenplay byJon Hartmere
Based onThe Intouchables
by Olivier Nakache
Eric Toledano
Starring
Music byRob Simonsen
CinematographyStuart Dryburgh
Edited byNaomi Geraghty
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 8, 2017 (2017-09-08) (TIFF)
  • January 11, 2019 (2019-01-11) (United States)
Running time
126 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$37.5 million[2]
Box office$119.7 million[2]

The Upside is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed by Neil Burger and written by Jon Hartmere. It is a remake of the French 2011 film The Intouchables, which was itself inspired by the life of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. The film follows a paralyzed billionaire (Bryan Cranston) who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a recently paroled convict (Kevin Hart) whom he hires to take care of him. Nicole Kidman, Golshifteh Farahani, and Julianna Margulies also star. It is the third remake of The Intouchables after the Indian film Oopiri and the Argentinian film Inseparables (both 2016).[3]

An English-language remake was first announced in July 2011. Numerous actors were rumored to star, including Chris Rock, Idris Elba, Colin Firth and Jessica Chastain, and different directors, including Paul Feig and Simon Curtis, were attached to direct. Hart officially signed on in October 2014, Cranston in March 2016, and Burger to direct that August. Filming began in Philadelphia in January 2017.

The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[4] Originally to be distributed by The Weinstein Company in March 2018, the film was shelved and sold off following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. It was eventually bought by STX Entertainment and Lantern Entertainment (the successor of TWC), who then released it in the United States on January 11, 2019, becoming Lantern's first release. The Upside has grossed over $119 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Hart and Cranston's chemistry and performances but criticized the plot for being "predictable and cliché".[5]

Plot

Speeding through New York City in a Ferrari, Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) and Philip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston) are pulled over by the police. Dell convinces the officers that he is rushing Philip to the emergency room; Philip grudgingly plays along, and the two are escorted to the hospital.

Six months earlier, the recently paroled Dell is ordered to obtain signatures to prove he is seeking a job. He visits various workplaces, including the penthouse home of Philip, a wealthy quadriplegic. Philip, with his assistant Yvonne Pendleton (Nicole Kidman), is interviewing candidates for the position of his “life auxiliary” caregiver. Dell barges in and demands a signature for his parole officer. Intrigued, Philip offers him the job, but Dell declines.

Dell visits his ex-wife Latrice (Aja Naomi King) and son Anthony (Jahi Di'Allo Winston) at their dilapidated apartment, but neither is interested in Dell rejoining their lives. He gives Anthony a book stolen from Philip’s library.

Desperate to turn his life around, Dell accepts the well-paying position of Philip’s live-in caregiver, for which Yvonne establishes a “three strikes” rule. Dell is daunted by his new responsibilities, despite guidance from Philip’s physical therapist Maggie (Golshifteh Farahani), and balks at changing Philip’s catheter, earning “strike one” from Yvonne. Dell learns the book he stole was a gift to Philip from his late wife. Dell informs Latrice of his new job and gives her his first paycheck; he asks for the book, but she tells him to do his own dirty work. Yvonne summons Dell back to Philip's home and declares his absence “strike three,” but Philip covers for Dell.

Philip’s strict Do Not Resuscitate order is put to the test when Dell finds him suffocating and helps him breathe. Dell takes Philip out into the city, where they share a joint to ease Philip’s neurogenic pain. Philip reveals that his wife Jenny (Genevieve Angelson) was killed in the paragliding accident that left him immobile. The pair begin to bond, and discuss Dell’s business ideas. Dell adjusts to caring for Philip, even modifying his wheelchair, and is introduced to opera and modern art; he creates his own painting, which Philip displays in the penthouse.

Dell suspects that Yvonne has feelings for Philip, but she assures him that Philip is in an epistolary relationship with a woman named Lily Foley (Julianna Margulies); they have never met or even spoken, corresponding only through letters. With Dell’s encouragement, Philip leaves Lily a voicemail.

Philip joins Dell as he takes Anthony out for the day. Everything goes well until Dell asks Anthony for the book back; disappointed in his father, Anthony returns the book and leaves. Dell and Philip return home to a surprise birthday party Yvonne has organized for Philip against his wishes. He and Dell argue, leading to Dell smashing things for Philip's catharsis. Philip socializes at the party, and Dell even gets Yvonne to dance. Carter (Tate Donovan), a neighbor Philip hates, approaches him about Dell's criminal record, but Philip ignores him. Lily calls Philip, and they agree to have dinner.

At the restaurant, Philip gives Dell $50,000 for his painting and to start his own business. Lily arrives, and Dell leaves Philip to his date. Lily is quietly overwhelmed, and admits that the situation is not quite what she was expecting. Hurt, Philip returns home, where he lashes out and fires Dell.

Time passes; Dell buys Latrice and Anthony a new home, and starts a business building motorized wheelchairs. Maggie asks Dell to help Philip, who has gone through several caregivers and refuses to communicate, leading Yvonne to leave. Dell visits the depressed Philip and takes him for a drive, leading to the encounter with police. They flee the hospital and repair their friendship. Dell, having arranged for Philip to go paragliding again, is forced to join. Dell then brings Philip to meet Yvonne, leaving the two of them to reunite as he returns home to Latrice and Anthony.

Cast

Production

Development

In July 2011, in addition to buying distribution rights in English-speaking countries, Scandinavian countries and China, The Weinstein Company acquired the rights to remake The Intouchables in English.[6] In June 2012, Paul Feig was slated to direct and write the script, with Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx and Idris Elba eyed for the role of Dell, Colin Firth in talks for Phillip, and Jessica Chastain and Michelle Williams considered for a female lead.[7]

By March 2013, Feig dropped out of directing, with Tom Shadyac in talks to replace him, and Chris Tucker was in consideration for Dell.[8] In October 2014, Kevin Hart was cast as Dell, with Firth still attached as Phillip.[9]

In March 2016, it was announced that Bryan Cranston would play Phillip, replacing Firth. Simon Curtis was to direct Cranston and Hart from a screenplay written by Feig.[10] By August 2016, Curtis dropped out of directing. Neil Burger was announced as his replacement.[11] A script by Jon Hartmere was used rather than Feig's work.[12]

In January 2017, Nicole Kidman and Genevieve Angelson joined the cast of the film,[13][14] and in February 2017, Aja Naomi King and Julianna Margulies were cast as well.[15][16]

On August 2, 2017, the film's title was changed to The Upside.[17]

Filming

Principal photography began on January 27, 2017 in Philadelphia. An official photo was released on January 30, 2017, of Hart's character via his Instagram account.[18] The film initially received an R rating from the MPAA, but Burger and the film's producers trimmed it to get a PG-13.[19]

Release

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2017.[4] It was initially scheduled to be released in the United States on March 9, 2018.[20] However in January 2018, following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations scandal, the film was pulled from the schedule by The Weinstein Company and moved to an unspecified 2018 date.[21]

In August 2018, it was announced STX Entertainment would be partnering with Lantern Entertainment, the successor to TWC, to distribute the film.[22] It was released in the United States on January 11, 2019.[23] STX spent just under $30 million promoting the film, including $7 million on TV advertisements.[19]

Reception

Box office

As of March 24, 2019, The Upside has grossed $106.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $12.9 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $119.7 million, against a production budget of $37.5 million.[2][24]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Replicas and A Dog's Way Home, as well as the wide expansion of On the Basis of Sex, and was initially projected to gross around $10 million from 3,080 theaters in its opening weekend.[25] However, after making $7 million on its first day (including $1.1 million from Thursday night previews), estimates were raised to $19 million. It went on to debut to $20.4 million, becoming the first film to dethrone Aquaman from atop the box office after 3 weeks in the number one spot.[19] The film fell to second in its sophomore weekend behind newcomer Glass, grossing $15.7 million.[26] It continued to hold well in the following two weekends, grossing $11.9 million and $8.9 million, finishing behind Glass both times.[27]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 41% based on 165 reviews, with an average rating of 5.23/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Preachy, manipulative, and frustratingly clichéd, The Upside showcases Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart's chemistry without ever taking full advantage of it."[28] On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the film has a score of 46 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[29] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and a "definite recommend" of 66%.[19]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times writes "Hart delivers a sincere and relatively low-key performance as Dell, but he's playing an all-too-familiar movie stereotype."[30] Scott Tobias of Variety, reviewing the film after its 2017 premiere, was critical of it for failing to improve upon the original or update the story, writing, "So little has been done to update or refresh The Intouchables for American culture or a new audience that The Upside has no integrity as a separate piece of work."[31] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote "The whole affair is misjudged and sickly sweet" and gave it 1 out of 5 stars.[32]

References

  1. "Toronto International Film Festival". tiff.net. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 "The Upside (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  3. Meunier, Emilie (September 6, 2017). "Remake américain d'Intouchables : Eric Toledano et Olivier Nakache ont vu les premières images... et ils ont été étonnés ! (VIDÉO)". Télé-Loisirs.fr (in French). Yahoo. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  4. 1 2 "Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  5. Dirk Libbey (January 11, 2017). "The Upside Reviews Are In, Here's What Critics Are Saying". CinemaBlend. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  6. Joshua L. Weinstein (July 8, 2011). "Weinstein Co. to remake French film 'Untouchable'". Reuters. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  7. "Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Idris Elba Up For Role In The Intouchables Remake". Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  8. "Tom Shadyac In Talks To Direct 'The Intouchables' Remake - /Film". Slashfilm. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  9. Kevin Jagernauth (1 October 2014). "Casting: Colin Firth & Kevin Hart Are 'Intouchables,' Quv - The Playlist". The Playlist. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  10. Andrew Pulver (March 31, 2016). "Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart to star in The Intouchables remake". The Guardian. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  11. Dave McNary (August 25, 2016). "Neil Burger to Direct Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston in 'Intouchables' Remake". Variety. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  12. Lauren Huff (August 25, 2016). "Neil Burger Tapped to Direct 'The Intouchables' Remake with Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart". AwardsCircuit. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  13. Fleming Jr, Mike (January 9, 2017). "'Lion's Nicole Kidman, Amara Karan Eye 'Intouchables' Remake". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  14. Patten, Dominic (January 27, 2017). "'The Intouchables' Remake Adds Genevieve Angelson To Bryan Cranston & Kevin Hart Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  15. N'Duka, Amanda (February 6, 2017). "'How To Get Away With Murder's Aja Naomi King Is 'Untouchable'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  16. "EXCLUSIVE: Julianna Margulies Joins Untouchables Movie – Plus many more notables". Philly Chit Chat. February 7, 2017. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  17. Romano, Nick (August 2, 2017). "Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart's The Intouchables remake gets new title". ew.com. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  18. Bion, Lucille (January 30, 2017). "Kevin Hart reprend le rôle d'Omar Sy pour le remake d'Intouchables, et ça donne ça". Konbini. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  19. 1 2 3 4 D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 13, 2018). "'Upside' Set To Be STX's First No. 1 Opener With $19M+; 'Aquaman' Flips Over $1B WW; Keanu Reeves Hits B.O. Low With 'Replicas'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  20. D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 2, 2017). "'The Intouchables' Remake With Kevin Hart & Bryan Cranston Gets New Title, Keeps Release Date – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  21. Pederson, Erik (January 19, 2018). "Weinstein Company Pulls 'War With Grandpa', 'The Upside' & 'Mary Magdalene' Off Release Schedule". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  22. D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 15, 2018). "STX Partners With Lantern For Global Distribution Of Weinstein Co.'s Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston Pic 'The Upside'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  23. McNary, Dave (September 6, 2018). "Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston Drama 'The Upside' Gets January Release Date". Variety. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  24. "The Upside (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  25. Fuster, Jeremy (January 8, 2019). "'The Upside' to Lead Quiet Box Office Otherwise Dominated by Holiday Holdovers". TheWrap. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  26. D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 20, 2018). "'Glass' Now Looking At Third-Best MLK Weekend Opening With $47M+". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  27. D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 3, 2018). "'Glass' Still Has Class With Third Weekend Win; 'Miss Bala' Fires Blanks In Lowest Super Bowl Frame In 19 Years – Sunday Final". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  28. "The Upside (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  29. "The Upside reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  30. "'The Upside' puts up pointless obstacles on two men's path to betterment".
  31. Scott Tobias (September 16, 2017). "Film Review: 'The Upside'". Variety.
  32. Bradshaw, Peter (10 January 2019). "The Upside review – Bryan Cranston heads up horrific odd-couple disability drama" via www.theguardian.com.
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