Sunday 4 September 2022

Netflix And Chill: Me Time (2022)

A slick comedy star vehicle from John Hamburg, the director of Along Came Polly, I Love You, Man, Why Him?, and a few other projects (in film and TV), you will probably already know whether or not you want to watch Me Time when you see that it stars Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart. I wasn't exactly rushing to see it, but I am glad I did. It's silly, it's predictable, it allows Wahlberg and Hart to feel characters that are very much within the normal range of their performances, but it's also a decent bit of fun.

Hart plays Sonny Fisher, a loving and happy husband who loves organising everything for his kids (Dashiell, played by Che Tafari, and Ava, played by Amentii Sledge) while his successful wife (Maya, played by Regina Hall) keeps developing her career. It's time for Sonny to have some "me time" though, something his wife encourages when he is asked by his old friend, Huck (Wahlberg), to join him for a massive birthday celebration trip. I am sure you can pretty much write the rest of this. Sonny joins Huck, things get messy, and there are also some attempts by Huck and Sonny to recapture glorious moments from their youth.

I'm not sure if writer-director Hamburg actually put any thought into this, or whether he instead just fed some details into a program that auto-generates modern mainstream comedies. It feels like the latter, with the amusing set-pieces, the occasional gross (but very tame) moment, and a finale that feels rushed and unearned, but maybe that makes me an even bigger sucker for laughing as often as I did. I didn't laugh all the way through it, and I often rolled my eyes at the same time as I laughed, but the film basically worked on me in the way it was intended to.

Hart does what he usually does. He gets stressed out by things and rages ineffectively against them. Wahlberg is the one able to push him into action, and he does that by playing the standard Wahlberg character, one lacking any self-awareness or worries about the possibility of anything going wrong. Tafari and Sledge are both very good in their smaller roles, and I always like to see Hall onscreen, even if she's relegated to really just being "the wife" for this film. Andrew Santino is a lot of fun, playing another family man who goes from zero to one hundred as soon as he decides to join in with the partying, and Ilia Isorelýs Paulino steals a couple of scenes as a driver who ends up involved in a very fun set-piece about halfway through the movie. Jimmy O. Yang and Shira Gross are also fairly amusing, and there's a fun celebrity cameo to enjoy, as well as very small roles for John Amos, Anna Maria Horsford, Diane Delano, and one or two others.

Although advertised as a film about someone finally getting to have some fun again, with the risks that can entail (depending on what the fun involves), it's actually your standard tale of someone misunderstanding a situation so badly that it jeopardises their relationship with loved ones, which leads to a bad situation that needs fully remedied before the end credits roll. While the stars are just lazily repeating themselves, there's still fun to be had with their interplay, the supporting cast, and the strangely comforting factor of it all being so obviously designed to "preach to the choir". I doubt I'll ever rewatch it, but I wasn't in pain while it was on (and at 101-minutes, it also gets a bonus point for not feeling unnecessarily bloated).


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