Synopsis – Follows a Dad who finds time for himself for the first time in years while his wife and kids are away. He reconnects with a friend for a wild weekend.
My Take – While Kevin Hart has well proven himself to be an excellent lead in films like Night School (2018) and Netflix‘s comedy drama Fatherhood (2021), for some reason he continues to stick to star in comedies which pair him with someone, upon whom he bounces off his electrifying energy.
Though the particular device worked for a while, in films like Ride Along (2014), Ride Along 2 (2016), The Upside (2017) and to an extent in Central Intelligence (2016), but in recent times, it clearly seems like the ruse has gone up and stale, with repeated humor and illogical situations being honed in just to sell a film based on the chemistry of whomever Hart chooses to star with.
His latest partners him with Mark Wahlberg, who has made a career out of playing man-child characters, is written and directed by John Hamburg (I Love You, Man), and seemed like a great potential to deliver a fun, R-rated comedy.
Unfortunately, this one is yet one of those productions that relies on outdated styles of humor and never rises to the challenge of offering something unique. Though it has been primarily sold as a bromance comedy, with the two actors seeming to be having fun together, it sure is a tough one to sit through, as it never really finds its lane, frenetically jumping from half-baked bit to bit.
Writer-director John Hamburg is known for films that exploit unlikely friendship and relationship pairings to provoke resounding comedic effect and underlying growth opportunities for his characters, but here, he somehow squanders a solid premise, a stacked cast and a seemingly unlimited budget. Yes, no one expected anything great here, but at least it should have delivered on the comedy aspect, and considering everyone involved, it really should have been better than it is.
The story follows Sonny Fisher (Kevin Hart), a stay-at-home dad who invests all of his time in his kids, Ava (Amentii Sledge) and Dashiell (Che Tafari) and volunteering at their school being the director of his kids’ school talent show, and PTA president. And of course, being a supportive husband to his successful architect wife Maya (Regina Hall). But when Maya offers to take the kids away for some quality mom-children bonding during their spring break, Sonny finds himself alone without anything to do.
Left with no responsibilities or dad duties to keep him occupied, Sonny finds himself reuniting with his former best friend Huck Dembo (Mark Wahlberg), whose annual birthday celebrations and bachelor lifestyle majorly deviates from Sonny’s world. However, what begins as a relatively tame 44th birthday celebration for Huck slowly evolves into a wild weekend that threatens Sonny’s reputation as a family man.
As one would expect, Huck’s birthday is followed by a series of accidents, poor decisions, and surprisingly inconsequential comedic gags, all of which feel disappointingly familiar and clichéd. That’s a whole lot of set up, and it is as fine a premise as any to pair a standard straight man with a wild and crazy friend from his youth, but rather than delivering a payoff, the film keeps offering new set-ups. It’s as if there were several ideas on the table, and the studio decided to use all of them at once, serving none of them properly. But without picking one of those lanes and sticking to it, director Hamburg never lets any of those establishing ideas escalate to the properly insane levels that are needed.
While the film had all the ingredients that it needs in order to be a successfully absurd farce in the same vein as many of the studio comedies that were released throughout the early and mid-2000s. However, rather than taking full advantage of its talented performers and easy set-ups, the film drowns all of its best elements in a sea of half-formed ideas and unfinished gags, none of which truly gel together.
What’s even worse is that director Hamburg doesn’t even follow through on the promise of Huck’s outsized 44th birthday party. The event is initially set up to be the centerpiece of the film, but it’s ultimately abandoned a third of the way through the film’s second act. Meandering from a mushy narrative about estranged friendship to a man’s transformation into a better family guy without ever quite using the slapstick brilliance of Kevin Hart or the macho nuisance of Mark Wahlberg.
It’s a film that could have maybe ventured into the unknown, but on the contrary chooses to do the obvious things, poorly. Consequently, rather than feeling like a coherently madcap story about one man’s misguided attempts to reclaim his youth, the film ends up coming across more like the first draft of a studio comedy you’ve already seen a hundred times before.
Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg essentially play their familiar comedic onscreen personas. Hart, stays in his comfort zone as a slightly frazzled family man. It’s something he’s very good at, but also something we’ve seen many times before. While Wahlberg is doing his energetic comedy schtick, which we’ve seen in much better films like Ted (2012) and Ted 2 (2015). They both give good performances and try to make the material work, but you’ve seen them in much funnier films.
In other roles, Regina Hall is given little to do, Andrew Santino and Luis Gerardo Mendez are hilarious, while Jimmy O. Yang is wasted in a minor role. On the whole, ‘Me Time’ is a tedious buddy comedy that is partly funny but mostly forgettable.
Directed – John Hamburg
Rated – R
Run Time – 101 minutes