This Patrick Hughes movie is nothing less than a bunch of cliches
Hollywood has produced its fair share of films in which two polar opposites team up on an adventure: Rush Hour, Ride Along, The Hitman’s Bodyguard…Director Patrick Hughes, who directed The Hitman’s Bodyguardbrings us The man from Torontoyet another iteration of the buddy cop genre, which generally thrives on how the tracks play off each other.
Patrick does the right thing by having Kevin Hart, a superstar of this subgenre, as Teddy, a failed and awkward salesman with a never-say-die attitude. He is alongside the main character of Woody Harrelson, an assassin who specializes in various methods of torture to extract the truth from his victims. When Teddy is mistaken for “the man from Toronto,” what we have is a classic comedy of errors that’s riddled with gunshots, swordplay, car chases, plane crashes and , as you can imagine, toilet humor and projectile vomiting.
However, despite names like Kevin and Woody, and keeping the stakes high – there’s an assassination attempt that could sabotage international peace – this movie never really takes off. The dialogue is silly, and it’s telling when even the collective caliber of The Man from Toronto’s protagonists can’t save the shoddy writing. From the moment the theme of mistaken identity is taken up by the buddy-cop angle, The Man from Toronto goes from one well-worn development to another. It’s a lot of what we’ve already seen and frankly, we’re tired of it.
The subplot of Teddy facing off against his wife Lori (Jasmine Matthews) and the romance angle between “the man from Toronto” aka Randy and Anne (Kaley Cuoco) shows some potential to be more than just cliches confused, but the writing doesn’t show any real intent even here. The mistaken identity trope at the center of the film isn’t fleshed out enough either, and the writers (Robbie Fox, Jason Blumenthal and Chris Bremner) take the easy way out by resorting to simple scenes constructed simply to exploit the rapport that Kevin and Woody share. .
The actors give their all, with Kevin channeling his inner stand-up comedian and Woody being a straight-faced assassin with a menacing voice, but then there’s not much they can do. No amount of double-crossing, awkward hand-to-hand combat, and incessant banter can make up for the lack of ingenuity in the writing and a super-thin plot.