The Man From Toronto, 2022.
Directed by Patrick Hughes
Woody Harrelson, Kevin Hart, Kaley Cuoco, Jasmine Mathews, Ellen Barkin, Lela Loren, Pierson Fode, and Jencarlos Canela
The Man From Toronto tells the story of the world’s deadliest assassin (Woody Harrelson) and New York’s biggest screw-up, Teddy (Kevin Hart), who are mistaken for one another at an Airbnb rental and find themselves forced into teaming up as they try to evade a group of assassins out to kill them.
Dumped on Netflix to be lost amongst your algorithm for all time, Patrick Hughes’s sideways step from The Hitman’s Bodyguard franchise is an 80s video-rental level buddy movie, which isn’t always necessarily a criticism (see Stakeout or Running Scared), but is in the case of The Man From Toronto, a film which feels like a one-pass script dusted off from a defunct studios writing room, and saved only by the enthusiasm of Kevin Hart.
Using a fun but familiar concept, one that Game Night recently executed in infinitely superior fashion, The Man From Toronto throws together the mismatched duo of Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson in a Spies Like Us scenario in which the former is in-over-his-head (and yes, there are plenty of heard-it-all-before size jokes to be found) in the world of contract killing.
Both are men with reputations; Hart’s online gym instructor Teddy is known for his failed entrepreneurial ventures, such as contact-free boxing, so-much-so that in another comical thread that’s rinsed for all its worth, his name has become a verb for screwing up. Harrelson’s titular poetry quoting assassin is feared by everyone in the criminal underground, with the mere mention of striking fear into his enemies.
Together they’re the only reason to watch this drab affair, but even then their tedious bickering develops in such an inorganic way that it simply feels forced, as though any two actors could be saying these lines in any straight to DVD comedy from a couple of decades ago. Yes, Hart is undeniably charming and effortlessly funny, but he’s playing the same character we’ve seen him embody countless times before in the likes of Ride Along, Central Intelligence and Jumanji. Similarly Harrelson’s performance brings to mind another geographically named character he has played in the past, Zombieland‘s Tallahassee, only minus the charm.
Jasmine Matthews (The Tomorrow War) is wasted as Hart’s oblivious wife, The Flight Attendant‘s Kaley Cuoco shows up in a paper-thin role that gives her absolutely nothing to do, and in an equally criminal waste of talent the usually superb Ellen Barkin fails to make an impression as the nefarious baddie.
It all simply adds up to an overwhelming feeling of laziness, where even the car chases play out in a pedestrian fashion, like stock-footage sequences. When the film does get something right, such as the first interrogation scene in which Hart’s character has to pretend that he’s a Guantanamo level torturous assassin, which is really quite funny, it then decides to repeat the same set-up over-and-over again, but throws in a few fart gags or a vomit joke to keep things feeling fresh.
For a movie about assassins The Man From Toronto continually fails to hit the target, resulting in a dull, forgettable use of your bandwidth. Unfortunately you’d have to sit through the film to understand this, but it’s a load of old “Teddy”.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ / Movie ★ ★
Matt Rodgers – Follow me on Twitter