Me Time Synopsis: With his family away, a devoted stay-at-home dad (Kevin Hart) enjoys his first me time in years by joining his hard-partying old friend (Mark Wahlberg) on a wild birthday adventure.
A stay-at-home dad receives a blast from the past when reconnecting with his wild-child friend in the buddy romp Me Time. Comedies continue to exist on an uneasy playing field in Hollywood as studios devalue the genre’s standing in big-screen settings (The Lost City represents one of the only major studio comedy releases).
The trend’s gradual impact has turned Netflix into one of the most consistent purveyors of laugh-centric material. Noteworthy multi-picture deals with the likes of Adam Sandler, Melissa McCarthy, and Kevin Hart allow the streamer to corner an untapped market for breezy comedies. These star-studded offerings may appeal to Netflix’s algorithm-based formulas, but the final products often feel like factory-assembled vehicles that rarely expand past their generic design.
Unfortunately, Me Time stumbles down a similar pathway. While the competent final product thankfully rises above some of the streamer’s worst offerings (looking at you, The Man From Toronto), Me Time ultimately renders a creatively vacant exercise in comedic futility.
There are pieces of an amusing farce on display here. Hart and Mark Wahlberg share a dynamic rapport as best friends divided by their dissident lifestyles. Wahlberg’s bravado has always been better suited for the silly allures of comedies, while Hart articulates his boisterous persona with enough charm and personability. Me Time mines its best moments when it’s at its most down-to-earth. Seeing Hart’s single father character stumble his way through an eventful week of home-alone activities presents hearty laughs drawn from relatable situations.
Like most Netflix-produced comedies, Me Time eventually falters by not trusting the material’s inherent strengths. I Love You Man writer/director John Hamburg infuses his personable tale with several over-the-top gags that strain themselves out of desperate attempts to draw laughs. Encounters with a turtle and a 90’s-esque CGI lion feel aggressively clumsy in their repurposing of cliched comedic pratfalls. In addition, the contrived setpieces add an air of artificiality that prevents the material from ever striking a genuine chord with viewers.
I don’t understand why comedies are so contently embedded in this exhaustive “studio comedy” mold. Along with an array of overworked setpieces, Me Time haphazardly indulges in every melodramatic narrative cliche in the book. Not a second of the film’s recycled plot beats or last-second revelations render personable reactions from viewers. One day, I hope creatives and studios alike evolve the genre’s structure rather than lazily going through the motions.
Me Time is passable enough- although the final product will likely fade from viewers’ memory banks almost immediately after watching. Let’s hope Netflix is willing to take a few more risks in the future with these star-studded efforts.
Me Time is now playing on Netflix.
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