The Man from Toronto,” Patrick Hughes’ new buddy comedy starring Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson, is primed to pour gasoline on the controversy by making one other argument in opposition to Airbnbs as a less-than-viable trip selection in 2022. However on this film’s universe, together with chore lists and annoying guidelines, you possibly can additionally end up mistaken for a world-renowned torture artist and compelled to threat your marriage so as to save the world from nuclear destruction.

Teddy (Kevin Hart) doesn’t have so much going for him. He does advertising for a boxing fitness center however will get fired when he forgets to place the fitness center’s tackle or cellphone quantity on his fliers. Makes an attempt to drum up curiosity for his enterprise concept, “Contact-Free Boxing,” which basically quantities to boxing with out hitting one another, are equally unsuccessful.

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And issues aren’t going a lot better at residence. His spouse Lori (Jasmine Mathews) resents his frequent errors, to the purpose the place her co-workers have begun utilizing “Teddy’d” as a verb to imply “screwed up.”

To show issues round, he plans a lavish birthday getaway for Lori, renting a cabin in Onancock, Virginia for a weekend of romance and leisure. However in traditional Teddy vogue, he forgot to fill their printer with toner. So after they strategy the precise cabin, he can’t fairly learn the tackle that he printed out. He’s in a position to slim it down to 2 homes, so he takes a guess and knocks on the door of the cabin he thinks he rented. He’s fallacious.

The occupants of this cabin are ready for a shadowy determine that everybody calls The Man from Toronto (Woody Harrelson). Employed by a mysterious crime syndicate whose assassins are solely recognized by the town they hail from, The Man from Toronto is the perfect extractor of knowledge on the planet. When you have a hostage who received’t let you know what it’s essential to know, he has a mess of the way to make them discuss.

The Man from Toronto has been employed for a profitable two-part job that requires him to extract information from one man in Onancock and a second in Washington, DC. If he pulls it off, the payout may convey him life-changing cash. And the primary man is ready for him on this cabin.

The person has at all times operated anonymously, and only a few folks have ever seen his face. So when Teddy exhibits up on the fallacious tackle, the present occupants suppose they’re within the presence of the world’s biggest sadist. They pressure him to “extract” info from their hostage, which he miraculously does by a mixture of begging and coercion. The boys are happy along with his efficiency and desperate to see “The Man from Toronto” end the job in DC.

However earlier than they’ll depart, the home is hit by feds, who arrest everybody within the cabin. Teddy rapidly clears up the misunderstanding, however the brokers understand it has created a once-in-a-lifetime alternative. No one is aware of what The Man from Toronto appears like, however they know he’ll be exhibiting up within the nation’s capital. If Teddy can proceed posing as him, he can purchase the tackle and assist the federal government arrest one of many world’s most harmful criminals.

By no means a lot of a go-getter, Teddy is reluctant to assist however agrees after they provide to repay all of his money owed and have a good-looking agent pose as his spouse’s private butler all through her birthday weekend.

It looks as if a foolproof plan (significantly, strive poking holes in any of that logic), till the actual Man from Toronto will get phrase of what occurred. He’s not about to let a failed boxing teacher rob him of a $2 million payday, and he’s not precisely eager about going to jail both. He basically kidnaps Teddy and forces him to assist him full the mission — for the reason that shoppers now suppose The Man from Toronto appears like Kevin Hart, Teddy needs to be the one who exhibits up on the subsequent location (with Woody Harrelson giving him torture directions by an earpiece, after all).

On paper (and for the primary 20 minutes or so), there actually is so much to like about “The Man from Toronto.” At first, Kevin Hart opts to play issues straight, demonstrating a comedic restraint that seems like a welcome change of tempo. The mayhem that ensues as a result of he forgot to purchase toner is a enjoyable bit, and it permits the movie to seamlessly usher us into the mistaken identification plot with out feeling too pressured. Woody Harrelson additionally begins sturdy, giving a convincing efficiency as an all-business torture artist with ice water in his veins. The 2 males look like good foils for each other, are thrust collectively below comparatively plausible circumstances, and have to finish a mission that has no straightforward options.

Hart retrogresses to his standard schtick as a frazzled man who freaks out below stress and screams all the things in a high-pitched voice. And Harrelson’s titular character takes a regrettable, predictable flip when he reveals himself to be an enormous softie who would relatively make sorbet than rip eyeballs out of their sockets. Like nearly each big-budget Netflix motion film, there isn’t a scarcity of lavish setpieces that, whereas competently executed, really feel utterly devoid of which means or stakes. One of many largest scenes can’t even get the eye of the background extras, who inexplicably by no means discover Kevin Hart falling from the ceiling and touchdown in the course of a dance ground.

The film additionally flips between genres at a whiplash-inducing tempo, alternating between tense scenes that seem like they borrowed digital camera lenses from “Higher Name Saul,” wacky comedic sequences the place everybody forgets the stakes, and sappy rom-com moments that would have been lifted from a Richard Curtis temper board. Relatively than construct towards one thing multifaceted, the movie’s lack of focus causes it to fail in any respect of its objectives, and the fast transitions between tones result in some really weird scenes. After an allegedly humorous second the place Teddy throws up on a room filled with dangerous guys, the dramatic scene that follows is all of the weirder as a result of a personality revealing essential info is drenched in vomit.

That tonal incoherence capabilities as a glance into the Netflix multiverse, permitting viewers to think about different variations of this film that would have existed. The brutality displayed in Harrelson’s first scene means that this might have been a stable motion flick a few really harmful man and the normie who will get blended up with him. The charming (if underused) subplot concerning the elite federal agent posing as Lori’s private butler may have fueled a fluffy rom-com. And the varied “Males from Different Cities,” whereas by no means actually defined, may have been fleshed out and used to construct a comedic model of the “John Wick” universe. With all of these potential decisions dangling in entrance of our faces, it’s unattainable to justify those that “The Man from Toronto” really makes.

Grade: C

“The Man from Toronto” begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, June 24. 

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