'Me Time' review: Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg connect in humorous buddy comedy
Courtesy of Netflix
The success of any buddy comedy is reliant on the believability and chemistry of the leads paired opposite each other. Whether it’s the irreverent silliness of “The Other Guys,” the sci-fi splashiness of “Men in Black” or action hero machismo of the “Rush Hour” series, none of them would work if not for the comedic energy both stars funnel into the other. “Me Time,” which finds Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg caught in their own ecosphere of “Hangover” esq shenanigans, finds the sweet spot between unruly and charming. It helps that director John Hamburg, who helmed one of, if not the best bromance movie of all time, “I Love You Man,” is behind the camera guiding these characters on a journey involving oversized turtles, a hilarious Burning Man festival imitation and warding off loan sharks eager to have their debts squashed. “Me Time” doesn’t go anywhere totally unexpected, but the chemistry between Hart and Wahlberg should be enough to keep Netflix viewers engaged from beginning to end. One wonders how this would play inside a packed auditorium.
Continuing to embrace father-figure roles in this second tier of his career, Hart plays Sonny, a stay-at-home dad who always puts the kids first, but has started to feel unlike himself. From holding down the PTA president gig, directing the school talent show to juggling all the needs of his home life while momma bear (Regina Hall) brings home the bacon, Sonny could use a break. Enter Huck (Wahlberg), an old pal known for throwing lavish and expensive birthday celebrations (the film opens with a mountain gliding incident that goes horribly wrong) and he begs, pleads with Sonny to come celebrate his 44th birthday with him out in a deserted location. After being coerced into the situation, Sonny relents, and the events of the excursion quickly spiral out of control.
Never mind the wildlife situation (Sonny gets into a sparring match with, of all things, a cheetah), but Huck’s freewheeling attitude has landed him in some hot water with a peppy loan shark (played by Jimmy Yang) ready to unleash pain (via his muscular bodyguard named “Dorit,” which is only there so Hart can make a crack about Doritos) if demands aren’t swiftly met. It allows the two pals, who have sparsely communicated in the last decade, to reconnect and bond over the shared experience. It lays the groundwork for a series of amusing sequences, a main one revolving around breaking into a wealthy bachelor who’s been flirting with Sonny’s wife and defecating on their bed.
Nothing in “Me Time” will shock, but it does garner chuckles. Witnessing the pratfalls and doldrums of fatherhood through the lens of Hart’s frantic personality goes a long way and Wahlberg feels right at home displaying the boyish, bachelor charm he skated on in the late nineties. The two stars formulate a sincere bond, resulting in wholesome R-rated comedy hijinks, a surprising revelation considering how minimal the film has been pushed. Go ahead and indulge.
ME TIME debuts on Netflix Friday, August 26th.