Kevin Hart has been focusing his career a bit too much on Netflix projects lately. His brand of comedy has attracted audiences from around the world, and Netflix is a great platform to expose yourself. However, the quality of the projects has been lacking as well. This is a review of “Me Time” Netflix’s new Kevin Hart joint. A movie that walks the line between being a bit too try-hard and also just not being enough for today’s current streaming environment.
Making comedies is hard. What some people find funny could end up being just a cringe-fest for others. Kevin Hart’s movies are just the perfect example of this kind of fine balance. He just tries too much to be loud and obnoxious, and for some, that is just not funny at all. Thankfully, he always has a partner to balance things out. On this occasion, Mark Walhberg takes the role of the partner and makes all things a bit more palatable.
John Hamburg directs “Me Time” and the movie stars Kevin Hart, Mark Walhberg, and Regina Hall. The film tells the story of Sonny, a school principal who spends too much time worrying about his responsibilities and his kids. He spends most of these days stressed out. However, an old friend invites him to a birthday party that will show him that there needs to be a balance in life, not everything can be just work and no fun.
Hamburg is a comedy director who already has a lot of experience doing this kind of movie. Hamburg directed the fantastic I Love You, Man, and also the great Along Came Polly. All these films have a similar vibe and premise, with one dude meeting another one and learning to relax a bit. However, while Along Came Polly, and I Love You, Man look like films, Me Time feels more like a collection of sketches edited one after the other.
This sensation comes after the lack of a solid setup. The previously mentioned films got to set up the premise and the main character in a way that felt both complete and meaningful. Here, the setup is trying to do the same as in those movies but lacks a major element that should not be missing: a compelling main character. Hart’s Sonny is too over the top, too annoying to make you care for him, and too much of a cartoon to care about what happens to him.
Sonny is such an unrealistic character that it feels like he is part of another reality, and he is just here to pass out and scream at every opportunity. If you cannot empathize with the character and his struggle, then everything the character ends up doing will feel empty. This is exactly what happens in Me Time, the general throughline of the premise feels incomplete, and the sketch structure only allows for a couple of moments of fun here and there.
Regina Hall also has her own B plot line in the movie. The actress is one of the most talented comedians in the business, and she is also good enough to pull off some amazing dramatic scenes. She feels way underused in this film. Hall really deserves more than just being second fiddle in this type of movie. It would have been nice to see her more on screen or at least make her plotline a bit more involved with the main one.
Visually, the movie has this clean look that feels too much like old video camera footage. This digital cinematography look has become a staple of Netflix productions, and it doesn’t look precisely good. Hamburg goes for this fast and loose handheld camera that moves around efficiently but never manages to capture or create a compelling frame. American comedies have never really bothered with using the frame to create comedy; it is all just about the dialogue and the outrageous situations.
The movie does offer a fantastic cameo towards the end, and if watched as the collection of sketches it is, the film can be quite fun. There is nothing memorable about it, but for the time it takes to watch it, the movie can be quite entertaining. The situations these two characters get into are quite crazy. Some of them work, while some of them fall quite flat, especially at the beginning when the movie is still trying to find its feet.
Kevin Hart is funny. He wouldn’t be in the position he is in if he wasn’t, but these movies might be degrading his brand in the long term. He clearly should be making more films for the big screen instead of these movies nobody will remember the day after they are released. It doesn’t really matter, though; he is, of course, receiving a good payday.
Me Time is good disposable entertainment. You will not remember it next week, but it is a good way to spend 90 minutes if you have some time to kill. Maybe in the future, Hart, and his friends can truly make a comedy masterpiece that will endure through time in our memories.