With an American remake of a non-English language film, you generally worry that something will be lost in translation. That’s not really an issue with this remake of the fact-based 2011 French film The Intouchables, as director Neil Burger retains the almost aggressively feel-good sensibility. Ex-con Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), collecting signatures for his parole officer to prove he’s applying for jobs, finds someone actually willing to give him one: Phillip Decasse (Bryan Cranston), a quadriplegic multimillionaire venture capitalist in need of a new “life auxiliary” to assist him with daily tasks. Naturally they both have Very Important Lessons to learn—Dell about taking responsibility for his life; Phillip about embracing life in spite of tragedy—that will involve broadly comic set-ups like Dell going into full gay panic about changing Phillip’s catheter, and uptight white guy Phillip getting stoned. The two leads have a satisfying chemistry, and Cranston particularly conveys the prickly pride of a man who can’t abide pity. The story simply skates past anything genuinely difficult, content to aim for the kind of easy smiles that find the same ready audience in any language.
Director: Neil Burger
Producer: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, Robert Simonds, Adam Fogelson, Andy Mitchell, Milos Brajovic, Chris Papavasiliou, G. Brown and David Bloomfield
Cast: Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman, Aja King, Jahi Winston, Genevieve Angelson, Golshifteh Farahani, Tate Donovan, Julianna Margulies and Suzanne Savoy