The Upside

The Upside

2019, PG-13, 125 min. Directed by Neil Burger. Starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, Aja Naomi King.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Jan. 18, 2019

The Upside, a mismatched buddy film, is an Americanized remake of the French mega hit The Intouchables from 2011. The story is based on the true-life experiences of billionaire Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, who became a quadriplegic following a hang-gliding accident, and his French-Algerian caregiver Abdel Sellou. Like the French version, the unlikely pair, now situated in New York rather than Paris, comprises a white businessman (mais oui) and a black petty thief out on parole who needs to land a job in order to remain out of prison. The black man teaches the white man about the pleasures of fast cars, hot dogs, and R&B music (although The Upside substitutes Aretha Franklin for the original’s example of Earth, Wind & Fire), while the white man teaches the black man about opera, fine art, and exotic foods like kumquats.

Despite being one of the top-grossing films in French history, Intouchables was derided by a great number of critics as having a similar racial subtext to Driving Miss Daisy. Very few tweaks have been made to the plot during its trip across the pond (the theft of a Fabergé egg becomes the theft of a first-edition copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in The Upside) and romantic details play out differently, among other small shifts to the basic plot. However, this American version (which was wrangled away for distribution by STX Entertainment from The Weinstein Company after it crashed and burned in ignominy last year) is more likely to be compared with a more recent release of dubious racial connotations: Green Book.

The always remarkable Bryan Cranston plays the invalid Philippe, who has lost all motor skills from the neck down. He has only his face with which to express emotions and Cranston makes the most of the opportunity with modulated expressions of pleasure, pain, joy, anger, and humor. Comedian Kevin Hart takes on a dramatic role as Philippe’s aide Dell, and greatly tones down his motormouth persona to present a character whose insolence and uncompassionate manner are what make him a desirable caretaker in Philippe’s mind. However, we’re reminded of the comedian’s overblown schtick (and perhaps his recent Oscar-hosting controversy) in a few sequences such as when the insertion of a catheter and his inability to vocalize the word “penis” give rise to a painfully prolonged episode of mugging and cringing. The direction by Neil Burger (Divergent, Limitless) is workmanlike: Nicole Kidman, as good as she is, is given little to do in a one-note role, but fares better than Julianna Margulies who appears merely in a one-scene role. Kevin Hart’s huge number of fans may push this film to early box-office success but eventually they are likely to toss it into the untouchable pile.

Showtimes

Mon., Jan. 21

10:55am, 2:05, 5:25, 8:35, 11:45

Tue., Jan. 22

2:05, 5:25, 8:35, 11:45
AFA 10:55am

Wed., Jan. 23

11:15am, 2:05, 5:20, 8:30, 11:40

Thu., Jan. 24

10:55am, 2:05, 5:25, 8:35, 11:45

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Mon., Jan. 21

10:30am
CC/DVS 3:00, 6:50

Tue., Jan. 22

3:00, 9:30
CC/DVS 11:50am, 6:50

Wed., Jan. 23

3:00
CC/DVS 11:50am, 6:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 9:55am, 1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:35

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:35

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:35

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 9:40am, 12:40, 3:45, 6:50, 9:50

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 12:30, 3:45, 6:50, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 12:30, 3:45, 6:50, 9:50

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:40

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:40

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:40

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 1:15, 4:20, 7:35, 10:40

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 1:15, 4:20, 7:35, 10:40

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 1:15, 4:20, 7:35, 10:40

Thu., Jan. 24

digital 1:15, 4:20, 7:35, 10:40

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 11:05am, 2:00, 4:55, 7:50, 10:45

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 11:05am, 2:00, 4:55, 7:50, 10:45

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 11:05am, 2:00, 4:55, 7:50, 10:45

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 12:10, 3:20, 7:00

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 12:20, 3:20, 7:00

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 12:20, 3:20, 7:00

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., Jan. 21

1:00, 3:50, 6:55, 10:00

Tue., Jan. 22

1:00, 3:50, 6:55, 10:00

Wed., Jan. 23

1:00, 3:50, 6:55, 10:00

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., Jan. 21

1:30, 4:25, 7:20, 10:15

Tue., Jan. 22

1:30, 4:25, 7:20, 10:15

Wed., Jan. 23

1:30, 4:25, 10:15
OC 7:20

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., Jan. 21

CC 11:40am, 3:00, 7:00, 10:15

Tue., Jan. 22

CC 12:00, 3:00, 7:00, 10:15

Wed., Jan. 23

CC 12:00, 3:00, 7:00, 10:15

Thu., Jan. 24

CC 12:00, 3:00, 7:00, 10:15

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Tue., Jan. 22

CC 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Wed., Jan. 23

CC 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Thu., Jan. 24

CC 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:30, 7:00, 10:00

Tue., Jan. 22

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:30, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Jan. 23

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:30, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., Jan. 24

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:30, 7:00, 10:00

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Mon., Jan. 21

12:05, 3:00, 6:30

Tue., Jan. 22

12:05, 3:00, 6:30

Wed., Jan. 23

12:05, 3:00, 6:30

Thu., Jan. 24

12:05, 3:00, 6:30

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Mon., Jan. 21

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 10:00

Tue., Jan. 22

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 10:00

Wed., Jan. 23

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 10:00

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:00, 7:00

Tue., Jan. 22

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:00, 7:00

Wed., Jan. 23

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:00, 7:00

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC/DVS 1:40, 4:40, 7:40, 10:40

Tue., Jan. 22

CC/DVS 1:40, 4:40, 7:40, 10:40

Wed., Jan. 23

CC/DVS 1:40, 4:40, 7:40, 10:40

Thu., Jan. 24

CC/DVS 1:40, 4:40, 7:40, 10:40

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., Jan. 21

9:15am, 12:15, 3:40, 7:00, 10:20

Tue., Jan. 22

12:15, 3:40, 7:00, 10:20

Wed., Jan. 23

12:45, 4:00, 7:30, 10:45

Thu., Jan. 24

12:15, 3:40, 7:00, 10:20

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., Jan. 21

11:05am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:25

Tue., Jan. 22

11:05am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:25

Wed., Jan. 23

11:05am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:25

Thu., Jan. 24

11:05am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:25

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Mon., Jan. 21

9:55am, 1:00, 4:05, 7:20, 10:30

Tue., Jan. 22

9:55am, 1:00, 4:05, 7:20, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 23

9:55am, 1:00, 4:05, 7:20, 10:30

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Mon., Jan. 21

11:30am, 2:40, 6:25

Tue., Jan. 22

2:40, 6:25

Wed., Jan. 23

2:40, 6:25

Thu., Jan. 24

1:30, 4:20

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Mon., Jan. 21

12:25, 2:00, 3:20, 5:00, 6:45, 8:40

Tue., Jan. 22

12:15, 3:10, 5:05, 8:50
CC 7:35

Wed., Jan. 23

12:15, 3:10, 5:05, 7:35, 8:50

Thu., Jan. 24

12:15, 3:10, 5:05, 7:35, 8:50

Mon., Jan. 21

11:30am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:45, 10:40

Tue., Jan. 22

4:30, 7:45, 10:40

Wed., Jan. 23

3:55, 7:30, 10:40

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Mon., Jan. 21

11:45am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Tue., Jan. 22

11:45am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Wed., Jan. 23

11:45am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Thu., Jan. 24

11:45am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:45

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:35, 6:45, 9:35

Tue., Jan. 22

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:35, 7:15, 9:15

Wed., Jan. 23

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:35, 7:15, 9:35

Thu., Jan. 24

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:35, 7:15, 9:15

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READ MORE
More Neil Burger Films
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Yet another dystopic YA book series gets translated to film – and one that resembles thebestseller: engrossing yet flimsy.

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Marc Savlov, March 18, 2011

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Upside, Neil Burger, Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, Aja Naomi King

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