The Man from Toronto review: Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart team up

Everything about the lovable Teddy Jackson (Kevin Hart) screams shit in Patrick Hughes’ “The Man from Toronto,” an action-comedy that balances its run-of-the-mill humor with two appealing leads. up from the start.

Teddy, a soon-to-be-unemployed salesman at a humble Virginia gym, is introduced through a series of hysterical online videos as he doggedly tries to launch the next big workout sensation. But its elastic resistance belt TeddyBand one of his painfully silly inventions – does nothing but slap him in the face. The dodgy pull-up bar he designed? It immediately collapses. In fact, this wannabe internet sensation is so notorious for failing in his endeavors that his holy wife Lori’s (Jasmine Matthews) fellow lawyers coined the saying “Teddy’ed it,” a phrase that’s been used after him , when someone messes up at work .

What do you get when someone so incompetent is mistaken for a notoriously competent assassin – namely Woody Harrelson’s eponymous poker-faced “MFT” – and unknowingly teams up with him on a risky mission? One big, hilarious mess, of course, involving global action, grumpy killers, lots of bitter bickering, and the FBI. Credit has to be given to screenwriters Robbie Fox and Chris Bremner for turning this recognizable recipe into an appealing dish, though The Hitman’s Bodyguard director Hughes gradually overwhelms its simple plot by the finale.

Overall, however, the team still delivers something compulsive, with playful nods to myriad opposites – Attract, Good Cop/Bad Cop Buddy Flicks, à la “48 Hours”, “Trading Places” and “Lethal Weapon”. In that regard, The Man from Toronto – originally slated for cinemas by Sony before the pandemic and now released by Netflix after long delays related to Covid-19 – should appeal to a sane audience in the world with its well-known nostalgic aura and never-ending vibrancy Find streaming world. charismatic stars.

How exactly does the mix-up come about? It all starts with an AirBnB address that is rendered unreadable by Teddy’s printer. (He’s not particularly adept at maintaining household electronics.) It feels like a made-up way to get things started, but you still go along with it when Teddy surprises his over-the-top wife, Lori, with the romantic arrangements before her birthday surprised. And when the time comes, he inevitably turns up at a very wrong address, where the infamous MFT is set to torture some top-secret information from an international criminal with its brutal medieval methods involving a significant number of blades. After the confusion, Teddy cuts a deal with the FBI and agrees to continue posing as the MFT to help them take down a global network of dangerous crooks.

The film spares us the sight of the real Torontonian filleting his subjects with his sharpened tools, although it’s clear he takes great pride in the process. Through a playful intro, we get the sense that this poetry-loving foodie would rather use his knife skills for culinary purposes than hunt down nicely paying jobs run by his handler, a Charlie-like character managed by an enigmatic Ellen Barkin will.

It’s all too predictable from now on when the MFT, who never seems as tough as his reputation suggests, puts the pieces together and exploits an unsuspecting Teddy as his professional wingman. But we settle so smoothly into the relaxed predictability of it all that The Man from Toronto survives its shortcomings. Another plus is the well-defined bromance chemistry between a delightful Motormouth Hart and a quietly sarcastic Harrelson, as their distinctly different characters correct course for one another through escapades both in the air and on the ground.

Starting from a far better script than both the rambling The Hitman’s Bodyguard and the stuffy The Expendables 3, Hughes blithely choreographed numerous high-octane fight and chase sequences around them, co-edited by Craig Albert and adapted from Mission: Impossible – Fallout” cinematographer Rob Hardy’s moveable lens. While the resulting package is far less elegant than a “MI” film, it still exudes an old-fashioned cinema vibe – provided you can overlook a glaring green screen or two.

So it’s a shame when “The Man from Toronto” capitulates to an unnecessarily loud and bloated finale, a common misstep that pollutes many blockbusters these days. Indeed, one wishes that the time spent introducing various other “men” – from Tacoma, Tokyo, Moscow, etc. – in the final act had been dedicated to deepening the film’s two main female characters, rather than haphazardly covering them Prepare the ground for possible sequels and spin-offs. One of those women is the inexplicably serene Lori, whose extreme patience with Teddy we never quite buy. The other is MFT’s later love interest, Anne, played by the seductive Kaley Cuoco from The Flight Attendant, who proved she could rival any male spy. Unfortunately, these two women feel a little too one-dimensional male constructed. Still, there’s enough panache and charm here to keep us glued to the screen for a dose of light-on-your-feet action, however forgettable it might be in the long run.

https://variety.com/2022/film/reviews/the-man-from-toronto-review-woody-harrelson-kevin-hart-1235302052/ The Man from Toronto review: Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart team up

Charles Jones

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