Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson, Jasmine Mathews, Kaley Cuoco, Ellen Barkin
Written by: Robbie Fox, Chris Bremner, based on a story by Robbie Fox, Jason Blumenthal
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence throughout, some strong language and suggestive material
Running Time: 112
Date: 06/24/2022
IMDB

The Man from Toronto (2022)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

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By Jeffrey M. Anderson

There are hundreds of mismatched "buddy comedies" going back decades, and this minor variation on the formula brings nothing fresh to the genre; it's stale, annoyingly busy, and altogether unfunny.

Teddy (Kevin Hart) is an entrepreneur, attempting to market a string of ridiculous workout equipment and methods. He's such a ne'er-do-well that his name has become a verb, as in "You sure Teddied that." For his wife Lori's (Jasmine Mathews) birthday, he books a romantic getaway. Unfortunately, his low-toner printout makes the address unreadable, so he makes a guess.

At the wrong cabin, he is mistaken for The Man from Toronto, a deadly assassin who can extract any information from anyone. Teddy blunders his way through the situation, but finds himself stuck in an even deeper situation, which requires him to keep up the ruse for a while longer. Then, the real Man from Toronto (Woody Harrelson) shows up, forced to work with the imposter in order to save them both.

In The Man from Toronto, Hart plays his usual character, the same one he's played in a handful of blandly similar movies (Ride Along, Get Hard, Central Intelligence, etc.), a yappy fast-talker with more ego than ability. The opening moments, with Teddy demonstrating his useless workout equipment, then taking a beating from it as it fails, is already exhausting. Harrelson doesn't fare much better; he's played this kind of stoic tough guy before, too (most memorably — and more hilariously — in Zombieland).

Neither actor seems particularly challenged here, and there's a lot of going through the motions. Perhaps worse than the lack of humor is the fact that the movie seems intent on diving into its needlessly complex plot, involving enemy agents, a severed thumb, trips to Puerto Rico and Miami, the presidency of Venezuela, and a whole bunch of choppy, shaky action cinematography. It's impossible to care about any of this stuff.

The only reason to see The Man from Toronto would be to laugh and find an emotional connection between the two leads as their aggravation inevitably turns to friendship. But either the movie doesn't realize this simple idea, or it doesn't care.

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