DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Neil Burger
Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman
Writing Credits:
Jon Hartmere

A look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who's hired to help him.

Box Office:
$37.5 million.
Opening Weekend
$20,355,000 on 3080 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 109 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 5/21/2019

• Deleted Scenes
• “Onscreen Chemistry” Featurette
• “Creating a Story of Possibility” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• “Bridging Divisions” Featurette
• “Embracing Positivity” Featurette
• “Presenting a Different Side of Kevin Hart” Featurette
• Trailer & Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Upside [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 28, 2019)

A true story inspired a 2003 documentary and that eventually led to 2011’s French flick Intouchables. That work gets remade for American audiences via 2019’s The Upside.

When Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) gets out of prison on parole, he needs signatures that prove he attempts to find employment. Eventually this leads Dell to the door of Phillip LaCasse (Bryan Cranston), a wealthy quadriplegic.

Phillip needs a new personal care assistant, and after a rough start, Dell agrees to the gig. This leads the two to slowly bond and develop a friendship that benefits both men.

If you look at IMDB, you’ll see Upside listed as a 2017 release. That’s because the movie debuted at film festivals late that year.

So what happened to keep Upside from US multiplexes until early 2019? Harvey Weinstein happened, that’s what.

Weinstein’s production company bankrolled the movie, and after Harvey became mired in scandal, his name turned into mud. Upside needed time on the shelf for rights to get worked out so another company could distribute it.

Not that the delay hurt the film, as Upside found a decent audience. It landed in that slow post-New Year’s period and managed $108 million in the US, a more than reasonable sum for a relatively low-budget effort.

Though movies tend to sell tickets based on genre/premise more than stars these days, I think Upside turned a profit due to its cast – mainly Hart, as he possesses enough box office impact to bring in a reasonable audience. Even as he slightly stretches his legs toward the dramatic side of the street, Upside retains enough “Classic Hart” to appeal to fans.

The movie’s cast becomes its main saving grace, as the overqualified roster of performers brings life to a potentially mawkish, sentimental experience. Actually, “potentially” becomes the wrong term, as Upside is mawkish and sentimental.

However, the actors manage to make this a moderately entertaining experience. In other roles, Cranston often emotes too much, but he underplays Phillip in an appealing manner that adds warmth and believability to the part.

As for Hart, he essentially brings a toned-down version of his usual cinematic character, so don’t expect dramatic revelations. Still, he manages to create a likable personality, and he shares fine chemistry with Cranston.

When Upside succeeds, it does so largely due to the efforts of Hart and Cranston. They interact well and form a good lead couple despite the film’s drawbacks.

And Upside does come with more than a few drawbacks, mainly because it latches onto melodrama and won’t let go. A little of this sentiment goes a long way, so the movie’s overtly heart-tugging ways can turn into a drag.

Those make Upside a mixed bag. The magnetism of the actors becomes enough to keep the viewer interested, but the tendency toward cheesy emotion knocks it down a few pegs.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

The Upside appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasant presentation.

Sharpness was positive. Only a smidgen of softness impacted some interiors, so the image remained pretty tight and well-defined most of the time.

I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print flaws also failed to mar the presentation.

Upside went with a teal-influenced palette that sprinkled in some amber as well. Within the movie’s color design, the tones seemed solid.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows demonstrated nice smoothness. This was a consistently satisfying image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of Upside, it showed scope generally typical of the drama/comedy soundfield. That said, the film’s material occasionally allowed it to open up in a satisfying manner.

Vehicle and subway segments added a little immersiveness, though those instances remained somewhat infrequent. The mix did use the score in a broad, engaging manner, though, and the whole package fit together smoothly.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech was distinctive and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music seemed warm and lush, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Bass responses delivered great punch. The mix suited the story and kicked into gear when necessary.

We find a few extras, and a Gag Reel spans three minutes, 16 seconds. It presents a pretty typical array of goofs and giggles, so don’t expect much.

Two Deleted Scenes appear: “Bedside Manner” (1:13) and “Tough Room” (1:07). The former shows more of the early times between Dell and Phillip, whereas the latter lets us view Dell’s attempts to amuse Yvonne.

Both seem entertaining enough. However, the movie already seems long at 126 minutes, so it makes sense these superfluous bits got the boot.

Five promotional featurettes follow: Onscreen Chemistry (1:07), Creating a Story of Possibility (0:45), Bridging Divisions (0:44), Embracing Positivity (0:41) and Presenting a Different Side of Kevin Hart (0:48). These include notes from director Neil Burger and actors Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston.

They offer general notes about story, character and cast. All five offer basic promotional material with no insights on display.

The disc opens with ads for UglyDolls, Fighting With My Family, Serenity (2019), Arctic and Hotel Mumbai. We also get the trailer for Upside.

Due to the charms of its excellent cast, The Upside manages to remain largely watchable. However, it loses points because of its eager embrace of cheap sentiment. The Blu-ray offers very good picture as well as adequate audio and a mix of minor supplements. Upside generally entertains despite its drawbacks.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main