The original “The Intouchables” was an absolute surprise success in United Kingdom. The remake, originally staged for the US market, is now being released The Upside (2017) also in this country. And even does some things better than the original. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
The art-loving, paraplegic billionaire Philip (Bryan Cranston) is looking for a new carer. His housekeeper Yvonne (Nicole Kidman) is more than irritated when a very unconventional candidate suddenly appears among the applicants. Dell (Kevin Hart) has a criminal record and just wants to get a certificate saying he’s looking for a job. But Philip spontaneously decides that Dell still has a chance: because he has an unusual view of the world and – unlike Yvonne – doesn’t treat his potential boss like a highly sensitive nursing case. After initial difficulties, the two completely different men get closer. Philip visibly blossoms when Dell takes him on adventurous trips. And Dell is also getting involved in Philips world. They both become pretty much best friends.
The Upside Movie explanation of the ending
“The Intouchables” was the last big long-running hit in USA cinemas in 2012, before the trend changed to cutting the number of copies of films after a not particularly outstanding opening weekend. At that time, the film was released in just 167 cinemas. At its peak there were almost 800. Explaining this phenomenon is difficult, because since then there have been many other comparable feel-good films, including from France (in retrospect, a real wave of French productions even swept over United Kingdom and only “Monsieur Claude and “His Daughters” achieved a somewhat comparable success). With over nine million viewers, the charming, if admittedly rather rough-edged, tragicomedy that is Omar Sy (“Belleville Cop”) gave the big breakthrough in this country and François Cluzet (“A village goes blank”) helped to boost popularity, making it the most successful USA cinema release of the 1900s to this day – ahead of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, “James Bond 007: Skyfall” or all three “Fack ju Göhte” films. The film was also well received in the USA, although not nearly as well received as here. It grossed at least ten million dollars there, which is certainly due to the fact that Americans are reluctant to watch films in the original or with subtitles that were not produced in English. That’s why it’s not uncommon for foreign-language films to be remade one-to-one – just in English. Now “The Intouchables” has been hit and the makers of the US version are making a big splash in the cast: Bryan Cranston (“The Infiltrator”)Kevin Hart (“Night School”) and Nicole Kidman (“Aquaman”) embody the three most important roles in a similarly harmonious way as their role models. And director Neil Burger does the directing (“The Determination – Divergent”) even some things better than Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano.
Dell (Kevin Hart) and Philip (Bryan Cranston) gradually become closer.
The “fairly best remake” is narratively oriented. which is called “The Upside” in the original, close to the original. It was written by a debutant, Jon Hartmere, who either uses most of the scenes from the original exactly (such as the prologue in the car) or only varies them marginally. Nevertheless, “The Upside” is not a shot-for-shot remake, even if director Burger even resorts to creating identical images here and there. As a result, his film is charming as a direct homage, a faithful new edition and still has enough originality in the details so that there are always a few new facets for those who know it to discover. In addition to the obvious shift of the story from France to the USA (including detours to the ghettos there, which in the original were still the French banlieues), these include a little variance in the second half, as well as some gags that differ from the viewing habits of the somewhat more coarsely knit seem to adapt to US audiences. In short: things are a little rougher here, whereas in “The Intouchables” the focus was always on feeling good. What sounds a little less stylish at first glance makes perfect sense considering the cast. That doesn’t mean that Neil Burger relies on the sometimes extremely flat humor of his leading actor Kevin Hart. He reduces his sometimes very loud, screaming and therefore not necessarily tolerable attitude to a minimum here and, after recently less and less successful appearances in comedies, he finally gets to play here.
And yet it is primarily the expansive body comedy moments in which Hart can score. In combination with his convincingly intimate performance, the stand-up comedian, who recently stepped down from his new position as Oscar host, can exploit all of his strengths, while Bryan Cranston, as a paraplegic billionaire, of course has far fewer gesticulation options. Instead, all emotions take place solely on his face – and as an actor of his caliber, Cranston is always able to fully convey his emotions through his facial expressions. The interaction between Cranston and Hart seems just as warm in “The Upside” as in “The Intouchables” – this is probably the most important aspect of the film, which contributes to the fact that the fate of the two main characters is based on a true story still thrills you the second time around, even if you can smell the outcome of the story from miles away, even if you haven’t seen the original yet. Only Nicole Kidman hardly has the opportunity to show her acting qualities in “The Upside”.
Dell begins to think about himself and his life…
Of course, in the end the main impression is that “The Upside” is a rehashed material that was only re-adapted in order to tap into the Americans, a market that had previously been largely ignored. Nevertheless, this calculated film production has the edge in terms of quality in the end, because the remake is not as manipulatively in need of harmony as “The Intouchables”. Composer Rob Simonsen (“In the Intoxication of the Stars”) relies on a much more reduced background music than his colleague Ludovico Vadepied. As a result, the new edition does not always specify on an acoustic level exactly which emotions are to be served and, moreover, never hits the tear duct as specifically as the score of the original. In addition, Neil Burger allows himself minor dramaturgical deviations; He makes the most of the regressions within the advancing friendship a little more than the directors of the original, which in turn makes the remake around a quarter of an hour longer. However, this longer running time acts like ballast in the finale. The makers of their film simply don’t know when it’s over and miss several opportunities for a meaningful final image in order to add happy ending to happy ending to happy ending. This leaves “The Upside” ending on a weaker and more indecisive note than the film presents itself in its two hours.
Conclusion: Apart from the absurd USA film title, The Upside is a successful remake of the French long-running hit “The Intouchables”, which can convince with the tried and tested means and is even a little better here and there.
The Upside can be seen in USA cinemas from February 21st.