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Never judge a book by its cover; the past is history and every day is a gift because tomorrow is a mystery. The move “The Upside” teaches use to enjoy today regardless of our situation. This movie is the story of two sides of a coin. Life will throw different people and challenges at you but finding friends who will make you scale through life is a huge blessing. Dell (Kevin Hart) was a real one, regardless of his problems he knows how to knock off the heat (pressure) because life is short. Philips (Brian Cranston) was once a bright handsome man but was a victim of circumstance and he allowed his circumstances of being crippled to take the best of him as he was confined to a wheel chair. This movie teaches that money doesn’t guarantee total happiness of a man. Because Philips was a rich man yet was full of sorrow because he could not enjoy the life he has struggled to build. On Dell’s part, he was broke, had a son he could barely take care of and was just out of jail. Funny enough he still finds a way to remain happy and positive. Getting hooked together by faith and the American Prison system and their parole board; Dell becomes Philips feel good pills in a hilarious manner. I never had a boring moment watching this movie although I can state categorically that it was too predictable because I knew Yvonne (Mr Philips Aid) loved Philips from the onset. Even though I could somehow tell the end, I am still rating the storyline 8/10 because I will always go back to see this movie.


Casting, Make Up and Costume

The choice of casting was okay; Kevin Hart who takes up the role of Dell and one of the two lead characters of the movie never fails to make someone laugh. He infects  the movie with his madness and brings in some real energy into the movie. Kevin looks a little bit of the part; I love the Afro haircut and Beard he wore. It made him look like an honest man who made a mistake and went to jail. His dress code was kept simple with just a Jean, T-shirt and winter Jackets which is good styling that portrays an African America guy in the projects. The problem with his wears was that they were too new for someone coming out of Jail. Those cloths should look a little bit old.

Pitching Kevin with Brian Cranston who plays Phillip Lacasse was a good move but not a master stroke. Although they synchronized well, I am of the opinion that the look on Brian’s face did not show some level of self-deject which is supposed to be his nature before the ex-convict “Dell” came into to his life. I could blame it on the makeup artist or on Brian himself. On Brian’s side: I can argue that he did not diet before going on set. He should have looked a little bit more trimmed. On the side of the makeup artist: I could argue that adding a little more wrinkles to his face would have been a lot better. Costuming the Philip character was okay with the cars, money and cloth. His cloths can be new because he has all the money and an automated house.

The nerdy looking Yvonne Pendleton played by Nicole Kidman was perfect for me. She kind of wore the role. Making her look like a realist who has agreed that she is not going to find love therefore taking her job seriously is wonderful. The three characters made good connection. The choice of skirts and pair of glass with no makeup was a wonderful one by the makeup and costume team.

Location, Cinematography and Editing

At first glance of the movie, one will think it was shot in New York City especially if you are from Nigeria or other parts of Africa. The street choices and restaurants are carefully selected Philadelphia locations as it depicts a commercial life that the character “Philips” is used to. It choices gave it the feel of a 21st century big personality working at Wall Street.  It was good thinking by the production team.

This movie has basic cinematography Stuart Dryburgh and his team just kept it simple. The angles of shot was okay. The movie is populated with lots of close shots which is okay for a non-action movie like this. Editing was also okay with the cool blue filters used in colour correcting the views. It gave it this basic winter look. The cinematography was not exception largely because of the plot of the movie hence I will give it a rating of 5/10


Neil Burger is a man who allows the actors direct their character and that is massive humility on his side. Kevin Hart literarily talk to Neil on set on how he wants the set to look so as to bring out the comic nature of each scene. Neil gives room to his actors and that nice. Although with a movie like this, I could say it has basic directing and anybody who has the opportunity to work with Kevin and Brian can make it happen.

Credited to: Bamisaye Peace


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