Joining the lineup of fun Netflix team-ups that will be quickly forgotten amongst the never-ending pile of content, The Man from Toronto embraces its odd-couple comedy with the help of Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson. This action/comedy is certainly not without its fair share of charms. Fans of Hart will adore the comedian in yet another role that allows him to be loud, anxious, and high-energy. Personally, I do not mind the repetition of his roles in smaller doses. In this film, the straight-laced energy of Harrelson’s character actually serves to balance out Hart’s manic performance—their onscreen friendship is practically harmonious.
Teddy (Hart) is trying his damndest to make himself into an actual brand. His product ideas have not quite taken off yet, and all appear themed around the gym lifestyle. Teddy’s newest creation, the Teddybox, will introduce an entirely new form of non-contact boxing. The only problem is, no one is interested in the Teddybox, least of all Teddy’s boss who officially lets him go. Attempting to hide this all from wife Lori (Jasmine Mathews), Teddy plans a special birthday surprise for her in the form of a quaint vacation in Onacock, Virginia.
Teddy has a reputation for being a bumbling loser. At his wife’s job, “Teddy” has become a verb synonymous with messing something up. This could be Teddy’s one chance to prove to Lori that he is serious about her no matter his flaws. Of course, things could never be that simple. After dropping off Lori for a spa day, Teddy heads to his picturesque cabin Airbnb to check in. Due to an issue with the low toner for his printer, Teddy misreads the address. Instead of a charming getaway, Teddy stumbles upon a chained-up man in the throes of an interrogation. Those in charge assume Teddy to be the legendary “Man from Toronto,” so Teddy plays along in the hopes of staying alive.
The situation takes a turn south fast in an explosive raid that finds Teddy in the crosshairs of the FBI. Though he easily explains away the case of mistaken identity, Teddy is then recruited by the FBI to follow through with “The Man from Toronto” and the next mission he is supposed to pursue: meeting up with the colonel. Of course, the real Man (Harrelson) happens to be following in the shadows—before long, he shows up to stake claim over his own identity. The comedy soars when Teddy and The Man from Toronto are forced to team up to get to the root of their circumstances.
It takes far too long for this union to occur, and yet once it finally arrives, I could not get enough. I laughed out loud more times than I expected, whether following Teddy and The Man from Toronto on a moped ride, a barf-inducing interrogation scene, or the final confrontation with the villain. Speaking of baddies, Ellen Barkin is excellent, channeling shades of her Smurf in TNT’s Animal Kingdom. Fast-paced fun and an action-packed finale really kept me hooked, even if some really poor CGI occasionally spoils the fun. The Man from Toronto hits the standard sweet-spot of action comedies, and may find the perfect audience when it heads to Netflix.
The Man from Toronto puts on hit on viewers when it comes exclusively to Netflix on Friday, June 24th.