Me Time is a movie that has no shot in today’s movie culture. It’s pure slapstick; farcical absurdity; unflinching insanity. You know, the kind of movie that used to be a dime a dozen, back when Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn were royalties of Hollywood, when Abbott and Costello were the talk of the town. These movies were once revered in a society that didn’t take everything so seriously, that found profundity in the unlikeliest of places, that didn’t believe a blockheaded social metaphor from A24 represented the height of art.
And that’s the biggest problem with people’s reaction to this movie—perhaps you saw the 6% score on Rotten Tomatoes? We don’t want to recognize anything deeper in something so unabashedly stupid. But if critics would pocket their pretentiousness for one second, they would see: the artistic beauty of such an outrageous comedy is that it tries to find humanity in pure chaos. The entire aesthetic of Me Time depends upon Sonny (Kevin Hart) not being able to carry out his duties as a father and a husband, all because these freaking ridiculous otherworldly events keep preventing him from doing so. Is that so unrelatable?
From that angle, Me Time has many profound moments. We’re watching a man who wants to change, who wants a better life, who would like to move on from his past…but can never seem to achieve his goals or escape his darker days when he was an immature brat. Huck (Mark Wahlberg) is then his antithesis—Sonny’s inner battle manifested. Every impossible scenario that results from a friendship with Huck—yes, including the part where an angry mountain lion rips his back open while he’s taking a dump at a faux Burning Man party—represents that struggle.
Will people even look for depth if the movie isn’t funny? Probably not. And that’s unfortunately the biggest problem with the movie. There are so many talented people in Me Time that we should congratulate: from the lead players (I think Kevin Hart is freaking hilarious) to the bit actors (like Andrew Santino, whose character needs his own spin-off series or something). Yet the chemistry doesn’t always line up, and sometimes we’re left with fairly dead-end bits that keep trying to gain traction…but never go anywhere. Those moments aren’t as few and far between as I’d like, which means the movie often feels clunky and awkward.
But despite a handful of dull misfires, Me Time is (in my unshared opinion, anyway) wildly impressive in its disorder. When we look back on our lives, we remember the important moments. But while in the midst of personal growth and lifelong changes…it’s all happening at once. Right? This movie captures that stress. Traditional plot construction goes out the window, and instead we’re subjected to a number of gags that examine Sonny’s multiple existential crises. The movie is post-cinematic in that sense, in that it doesn’t feel the need to carefully arrange these bits in a digestible order. The movie’s modus operandi is pure chaos—and the more it leans into that aesthetic, the more triumphant it becomes.