To be charitable, the comedy Me Time isn’t entirely laugh free. It is, however, seriously lacking. The lead actors enliven things, and in Mark Wahlberg’s case, him being a dopey man-child dimwit is more amusing than his various attempts at stick-in-the-mud Dad comedy roles. But there’s a pretty basic, sturdy format to the straight man and wild guy buddy comedy that the movie manages to screw up inexplicably, mostly by having the film end way too early and then continuing on for about 20 more minutes. This is a subpar comedy that sparingly has a few funny moments but not enough.
Sonny (Kevin Hart) is a stay-at-home dad looking after his two kids while his wife, Maya (Regina Hall) is the breadwinner with a rich client, Armando (Luis Gerardo Méndez). For years Sonny tagged along with his best friend, Huck (Wahlberg), as Huck celebrated his birthday milestones (even though Huck tended to go all out for random birthdays like “The Big Two Nine”). But the two drifted apart with Sonny becoming a family man and Huck continuing his life extravagant spending and decadence. Now for his big 44th birthday, Huck comes calling. With Sonny’s wife and kids on a trip, Sonny goes out to the big desert bash Huck is hosting. But it turns out that Huck is in debt to a loan shark (Jimmy O. Yang). Even worse, Maya is having the very wealthy Armando sniffing around which drives Sonny to extremes to win back his wife.
Even the title of the movie is off. “Me time” is supposed to be when Sonny’s family leaves and he gets the house to himself and goes off to various events to have fun, but the idea collapses after he decides to go on the field trip with Huck. It’s not so much “Me time” as it is “wacky antics with my crazy buddy”. The film abandons the “me time” concept after about 8 minutes with jokes involving retro porn and projectile vomiting.
Hart is trying here and the strain shows. His last Netflix movie, The Man from Toronto was Hart playing a sad sack husband and that thematic conceit continues right into Me Time. Put upon loser husband isn’t exactly a stirring recurring theme. Hart spends much of the film hollering loudly and sometimes it’s worth a decent chuckle, like a confrontation Sonny has with a CGI tiger while he’s going to the bathroom (such is the level of comedic genius in this film). When he claims responsibility for sending the loan shark to Huck’s birthday location the loan shark’s muscle breaks his finger and Huck says it looks like a spicy Cheeto. Of course this debilitating injury isn’t exactly followed up on as mere 20 minutes later in screentime he’s playing the piano happily with Seal. Oh yeah, Seal shows up in a gratuitous and unfunny cameo. He sings his hit Crazy as Sonny is ecstatic to be sharing a backyard stage with Seal. It just seems like an extended ad for one of Seal’s back-catalogue hits. It’s lazy which is emblematic of the whole movie being just kind of lazy.
Lazy is the defining characteristic of the stuff with Sonny’s family too. Hall’s wife is just generic and dull. There are some good moments coming from her snarky father played by Good Times vet Jon Amos when Sonny accuses his father-in-law of cheating at golf and the dad admits it and declares Sonny is a wimp for not calling him out. Although the supposed “emotional” ending when Sonny and his wife come to an understanding is extremely corny. Even Méndez’s Armando is just some generic foreign rich guy cliché and the payoff to his plotline is underwhelming.
One of the movie’s genuinely funny scenes is when Sonny and Huck get revenge on Armando for hitting on Sonny’s wife, so they trash his house in very unsanitary ways. Probably the dumbest bit of revenge is when they delete all his DVR recordings which is so inane it’s funny. They also accidentally hit Armando’s beloved pet turtle and rush to an animal hospital. Hart gives the turtle mouth to mouth (amusing) and spits out turtle boogers (just gross). Their ride is a quipping Uber driver played by Ilia Isorelýs Paulino who has some fun moments where she gets too chaotic.
Wahlberg is consistently funny as the dopey Huck, mostly because he seems perpetually chipper, even blowing cash on expensive shellfish and an effigy of himself to burn. He’s in deep because he got cash from the loan shark and Yang’s scenes are amusing as he’s exceptionally polite while threatening harm. This should be the movie’s main plot but it wraps up way too early then the movie focuses on Sonny being an overbearing dad to his kid at a talent show which is lame.
Me Time has small moments where all the chaos and yelling does work, but most of the time it’s tired gags and mugging for the camera. This is a movie where repeated tripping on turtle poop is high humour and family relationships that are meant to be profound but instead come off as trite. With two big stars, this is a waste of potential and time.
Director: John Hamburg
Starring: Kevin Hart, Mark Wahlberg, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Regina Hall and Jimmy O. Yang