Neil Burger’s film is contrived, it is also satisfying.
Bryan Cranston’s Phillip Lacasse is a quadriplegic who would be happy to end his life. His accident occurred shortly following the death of his wife, from cancer. He is excessively wealthy, lives high in a penthouse apartment in New York City and needs a personal assistant just to function.
His business associate Yvonne Pendleton (Nicole Kidman) manages his schedule, business and other activities in his life. She is demure and appears to hide behind large round glasses. She is vital to his existence, which he does not value any longer.
Along comes Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) an unemployed former convict who just needs to appear and apply for three jobs to remain on probation rather than returning to prison. Scott bumbles into the interview room for the new personal assistant only looking for a signature on his documents to prove he applied for the job. Pendleton recognizes Scott has no skill and or background for the job, and for that reason Lacasse hires him. The idea is that Scott will make it easier for Lacasse to move closer to the end of his life.
But this is a comedy, therefore we know early on that the two will hit it off and together both grow and flourish. On the journey they act irresponsibly and over the top. For Scott he picks up twenty-six hundred dollars each week and gets to live in the penthouse in a private room for himself. He also helps his wife and son financially. That allows him to begin to make peace with his wife and son and to think about projects for his future.
What becomes a smooth almost happy relationship (Scott brings Lacasse all over the city) eventually for dramatic reasons falls apart late in the story. But with a background of an opera they all can relate to, Scott and Pendleton come back into Lacasse’s life.
Filled with comical situations that work well, and performances that are not over the top but work, we find ourselves into an enjoyable film that is even uplifting at the end.