Brutally honest and bittersweet, yet satisfying.
Month: February 2019
Happy Death Day 2U picks up right where Happy Death Day leaves off… Finally Day 2! If you have not seen the first Happy Death Day, it is a slasher movie that is caught in a time-loop (think Groundhog Day but with a murderer). A baby-masked killer murders college student Tree Gelbman, and she continually wakes up at the beginning of the day she died. Over and over she is killed and starts the same day again until she can unmask the killer and survive the day. Fantastic concept for a horror movie; poor execution. The sequel had the chance to take this concept into so many different directions and learn from the mistakes of it’s predecessor. Unfortunately, Happy Death Day 2U makes all new mistakes and seemingly kills the franchise going forward.
Happy Death Day franchise completely dropped the ball here. They were the first-to-market in the “Horror-Time-Loop” space and they switch genres into a goofy, run-of-the-mill, sci-fi cluster. It focuses more on why there is a time-loop than enjoying being in a time-loop. The audience doesn’t care why there is a time-loop, we just accept that they are in one. Sequels often fall into this trap of over explaining things that we don’t need to know. In the movie series Final Destination, Death is hunting a group of teenagers because they escaped a tragedy. We don’t know or care why they escaped the first time or how Death is chasing them, it just is. And it is fun. Happy Death Day 2U could have had a different person in a time-loop or have Tree stuck in a different time-loop. No explanation needed. As soon as you try to bring in the physics involved in how this could be possible, you lose the focus and interest of why we came. We came for a fun new twist on a horror/slasher genre. We left disappointed.
I am excited for the reboot of this franchise when they get to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.
The Upside is based on a true story about a rich quadriplegic man who hires an ex-con as his live-in caretaker. The Upside made some changes from the true story. Instead of a son of a wealthy French Duke who was paralyzed, they went with a wealthy American businessman whose father gave him nothing and he earned every penny himself. Instead of an Arabic career-criminal from Algeria, we get the always entertaining Kevin Hart who plays a thief fresh out of prison in New York. While these background changes (along with a few others) could absolutely make for a drastically different story, it seems the rest of the tale stays pretty true to the original.
Going into The Upside, I was prepared for an emotional rollercoaster with minimal comedy. I got the opposite of that. While it could have benefited from a more emotional core, the humor had me rolling. You know when you watch Saturday Night Live and the funniest parts of the show are when the actors break down laughing when they aren’t supposed to? That is what Bryan Cranston’s performance was like throughout the entire movie. It was like he was trying to be serious, but he couldn’t help but laugh at Kevin Hart. There is a scene where neither actor could stop laughing at each other, which was contagious and I could not stop laughing along with them. I laughed harder and longer in The Upside than I have in a movie for a very long time.
It is very possible that The Upside caught me at just the right time for me to appreciate it as much as I did. There are a lot of things I would have changed to help the story hit home a bit better, however, I enjoyed the experience. I am looking forward to the next Kevin Hart/Bryan Cranston collaboration!