Next up on the never-ending release schedule at Netflix starring A-listers who have all the chemistry in the world together but, beyond that, not much else can be said is Me Time. Now that we are midway through the year, the summer blockbuster season is slowing down and the next phase of the year’s slate is up to the Oscar bait films. But with the lull in the release schedule, the 25-year-old streamer keeps our cravings satisfied, even if the calories are empty and the pleasures are guilty, it is a complete coin toss on how the movie will turn out. Heads, the film will generate a buzz, the masses will watch and enjoy, and the film will be forgotten in a week or two or tails, the film will bomb and be completely forgotten in a week or two.
Half the movies Netflix plans to release comes with zero awareness that a movie is even being made, let alone releasing on a specific day. Poof and they just appear out of thin air, like a wish from a genie was granted. Leave it to the top 10 trending watch list to be Netflix’s entire marketing strategy. The newest film Me Time comes from writer/ director John Hamburg, who also wrote and directed Along Came Polly, with Jennifer Anniston and Ben Stiller, and I Love You, Man, with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel.
Me Time falls in line with I Love You, Man but lacks the poignancy of its lead characters relationships. Just like the title suggests, Me Time is relatable on an ambiguous scale. Every last one of us is constantly on the move (especially us New Yorkers), our days are filled to the brim with a hustle that rarely takes a day off and due to schedules, neither do we. We all need a little me time, time to unwind, reflect and rest to recharge the batteries and avoid the pitfalls of burning out or missing out on the little things in life.
Stop me if you’ve heard the premise before – two best friends do everything together, are inseparable from a certain age, one goes off to get married, start a family and a career while the other stays single and never grows up. Then, the two reconnect years later and decide to live a day, week like the old days. Shenanigans ensue, a mess is made that both regret and the family-oriented character gets their life turned upside down until they change their ways and see the error in their behavior. Sound familiar? It’s the basic premise for all these buddy comedy films. Nothing wrong with it, Me Time is just another entry into that sub-genre, not scratching the surface of the potential it can harness.
The married, family man who is a stay-at-home dad is Sonny Fischer (Kevin Hart) and the party animal, screw up is Huck (Mark Wahlberg). Sonny is the glue of the family, literally, his wife Maya (Regina Hall) is an ambitious architect, constantly on the move, making work and her boss Armando (Luis Gerardo Méndez) a priority. Sonny on the other-hand, cooks, cleans, drives the kids to school in a broken-down minivan and is in the PTA running the upcoming talent show. Despite all that, Sonny is optimistic, never feeling the burden Maya has placed on him being the career driven one in the relationship. Sonny still could use some me time, he deserves a break.
At its core, Me Time shines when the focus is on Hart and Wahlberg who, given their personalities off screen, have instant chemistry together – both carry this overly ambitious story on their back. When new characters are added to the mix that aren’t Regina Hall, Hamburg’s film unravels more, posing the question why these shallow characters were added when Hart, Hall and Wahlberg could be given more. Sonny’s fellow school friend Alan (Andrew Santino) provides a few laughs here and there but overall, for a comedy, Hamburg plays it safe. Jokes miss more than they do hit but when they land, the dialogue is genuinely laugh out loud funny.
For what it is, Hamburg provides a fun distraction to turn the brain off from the outside world for an hour and 45 minutes. A quick pace keeps the story moving with jokes galore, a scenario that, rather recently was featured in another A-list relationship during their publicized court proceedings, and a commentary on gender roles within a family. Let the man stay at home, cook, clean, do laundry, and take care of the kids. Regina Hall’s Maya crushes it as the breadwinner. The analogy I used with a previous Netflix film, Me Time steps up to the plate, and strikes out looking at 3 fastballs down the middle. I will be forgotten once the next film steps into the batter’s box to take their pitches.
Screenplay By: John Hamburg
Directed By: John Hamburg
Music By: Jeff Cardoni
Cinematography: Kris Kachikis
Starring: Kevin Hart, Mark Wahlberg, Regina Hall, Jimmy O. Yang, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Andrew Santino
Where to Watch: Netflix
Release Date: August 26, 2022
Running Time: 1 Hour 41 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 8%