Time review for me
By Matthew Passantino
Netflix has resurrected the term “Movie of the Week” with its constant output of algorithmic – gulp – content. They’re starting to learn that multiple movies a week might be a bit too much and not financially stable, so it’s a wonder they’re still funding tired comedies like Kevin Hart-Mark Wahlberg headlining. “Me time.”
Director and screenwriter John Hamburg has made some really funny films (“I Love You, Man” and “Along Came Polly”) and some totally unfunny ones (“Why Him?” and “Little Fockers”). His latest fits squarely in the middle of the spectrum of his career. “Me Time” isn’t offensively bad, just deeply uninspired and often quite ugly. It’s also a film that conveys a generic lesson taught in many films before it.
Hart stars as Sonny Fisher, who grew up with his best friend Huck Dembo (Wahlberg). As is the case with most people, Sonny and Huck have drifted over the years. Sonny is a stay-at-home dad, married to his architect wife Maya (always great Regina Hall, even when ill-served by a movie script) and is responsible for the day-to-day chores that come with raising two children. Huck, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much and still enjoys living a carefree life and partying.
Sonny is strict with his schedule and constantly asks his son to practice the keyboard for the next talent show (those types of movies always end in a talent show, don’t they?), which he directed. Since settling in and running the house, Sonny hasn’t taken much time for himself. Huck continually tried to get Sonny to join his band for his 44th birthday, to which he eventually gave in.
Hijinks ensue and well-worn storylines are slapped across the screen, but never produce laughs. Hamburg has proven itself to be a fine comedy director, but “Me Time” limps to the finish line, crafting one outlandish storyline after another. Again, anything done in “Me Time” would be okay if it was all funny.
Perhaps more than the wacky shenanigans Sonny and Huck get into, “Me Time” is about the lesson of taking time for yourself, no matter what your circumstances. The movie wants you to know that it’s okay not to be constantly on your A-game as a parent, and that you can do it without the world falling apart. Did you really need “Me Time” to tell you that?
Hart is obviously known as a comedic actor and Wahlberg has been in his share of studio comedies, but their energies don’t match up to create some odd couple chemistry. Hart tries to be more reserved as Sonny, but his maniacal persona continually slips away. Wahlberg’s fraternity boy in an adult body has been made into better movies, but there’s really no exploration of why he’s stuck. Is that what “Me Time” should be? Maybe not, but if the storyline is going to introduce a time-fractured friendship, maybe there’s something that could be used in place of too many fecal scraps.
In their defense, Netflix attracts A-list directors, whose passion projects have found a home in a studio willingly to pay their bills. There wouldn’t be “The Irishman” or “Marriage Story” without Netflix, but their relentless need to release movies year-round is starting to catch up with them. The junky action pictures and lazy comedies they release have a similar life cycle: release, hang out in the Top 10 watched movies, and then never talk about it again. “Me Time” is just another movie that rolled off the Netflix treadmill.