Directed by: John Hamburg
Distributed by: Netflix
Written by Patrick Hao
Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart are two of the last movie stars. Two names who can open a movie based on their name alone. So, to have both of them consistently making mediocre straight-to-streaming films like “Infinite” or “The Man from Toronto,” diluting their brand is disappointing even if I am not always a fan of their films. Wahlberg and Hart buddy comedies, no matter how bad they are, belong in theaters to create a healthy film release environment. Think of it like gut health in which there needs to be a variety of microbes to create a healthy microbiome. Having a film like “Me Time” go directly to Netflix, is a double blow of a bad movie and the bad state of the movie industry.
The problem with this Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg collaboration is that Hart and Wahlberg both are best as the exasperated straight man in comedies. Even when Wahlberg is supposed to be the straight man in a movie like “Daddy’s Home,” the ridiculousness of Will Ferrell essentially renders Wahlberg’s cool dad persona in that movie to be the straight character reacting. In “Me Time,” Hart plays a stay-at-home dad, Sonny. Whose life is regimented, which he likes. His wife, Maya (Regina Hall), is a successful architect who does not have much time for their children. After some social faux pas, both agree that maybe it would do both good for Sonny to spend a week at home alone and for Maya to take the children by herself on a trip. Credit where credit’s due, the relationship is not one of the male caregiver being jealous of his wife. They are just merely stuck in a rut.
This “Me Time” (get the title now?) leads Sonny to reconnect to his college friend Huck (Mark Wahlberg), a man who has never grown up and is celebrating his 44th birthday party, a wild extravaganza involving drugs, alcohol, Burning Man, and other spectacles. You can write the rest of the movie in your head. It will not be a surprise to learn that Sonny becomes less frigid while Huck learns that maybe it is time to mature. It is the buddy comedy straight person-crazy person 101 playbook. Rinse, repeat and enjoy.
The problem with “Me Time” is the problem with every Netflix movie. It is meant to exist merely for the sake of existing. Director John Hamburg has made amusing movies with “Along Came Polly” and the underrated “I Love You, Man,” but he is utilized exactly how he is supposed to be utilized here – as an anonymous journeyman director who can make sure the set pieces are done.
The only thing that stands out about “Me Time” is how inexplicably dirty it is. Everything about it screams family comedy that pushes the edge a little. But, this film has some profanity and nudity in it that feels weird just because of how otherwise safe the humor is, relying on pratfalls and family-friendly antics that have now become associated with Hart.
That is not to say that this movie is for no one. It is for people who will put it on because it is something to put on while doing chores. It’s just disappointing that our last movie stars are making those movies now.
“Me Time” Trailer