One of the ironies of the Age of Trump is that we get more black and white comedies, not as in film stock, but as in people. Green Book was the best of these. The Upside is just the latest.
Enjoyment of The Upside is entirely dependent on one’s tolerance for how fast character cynicism can lead to feel good pablum. In a 2 hour 6 minute movie my patience was exhausted at the 45 minute mark.
Kevin Hart gets to play his Kevin Hart character, the cynic with a heart of gold but the comic diatribes turned down, to make you think that he is actually acting. Bryan Cranston, provides the illusion of acting from the head up and not the body down, because he is a quadriplegic, and for most of the movie unhappy that his wife is dead but elated that his mind is still alive, leading to many weird PTSD nightmare scenes where he is terrified by his former spouse’s death but not the accident that left him wheelchair bound.
There is no disguising the fact that these kinds of comedies are really paid slavery stories where the master is considered good because he commiserates with the black help forced to live under his house and rule.
Would these kinds of movies play better if they were white and white or black and black. Who knows?
All photos courtesy of Escape Artist and STX Films.