There is a scene at the beginning Time for me, the new Netflix comedy from writer-director John Hamburg that feels like a perfect encapsulation of the film itself. It goes a little something like this: after making a series of impulsive decisions, a formerly adventurous stay-at-home dad (played by Kevin Hart) finds himself stranded in the desert with nothing but a bathroom bucket. When he goes to use the bucket for the first time, he suddenly finds himself alone in a confrontation with a hungry mountain lion.

The premise of the series is effectively simple, and Kevin Hart is more than capable of elevating the absurdity of the situation by leaning into his character’s understandable fear. Therefore, the scene should have no problem delivering the laughs it promises. Unfortunately, the mountain lion Hart’s Sonny is forced to face is accidentally brought to life with some of the worst CGI you’re likely to see in any movie this year.

And therein lies the disappointing truth about Time for me. The film has all the ingredients it needs to be a successful absurdist farce in the same vein as many of the studio comedies released in the early and mid-2000s. However, instead of taking full advantage of its talented performers and easy setup, Time for me it drowns all its best elements in a sea of ​​half-formed ideas and unfinished gags, none of which really add up.

Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Written from Hamburg, Time for me fits easily into the comedic subgenre of reinventing youth that major Hollywood studios have routinely exploited. The film opens with Hart’s Sonny, a longtime stay-at-home dad when he unexpectedly finds himself alone for a week without his kids or wife Maya (Regina Hall). Feeling compelled to make the most of his alone time, Sonny decides to reunite with his former best friend, Huck (Mark Wahlberg), for a wild birthday celebration that’s destined to take more left turns than Sonny can handle. to imagine.

The film’s opening flashback to one of Sonny and Huck’s previous adventures quickly – and rather confusingly – sets up the kind of ridiculous adventures the duo got into before the former decided to settle down with his family. Sonny and Huck getting together has never produced that kind of intense thrill Time for meHowever, ‘s prologue is setting up. Instead, the Hamburg scenario comes closer Time for meThe film’s plot without ever slowing down to allow any of the film’s set pieces to breathe, making them significantly less effective than they would otherwise be.

The film moves through its first act, establishing Sonny’s middle-aged life as an elementary school PTA president, as well as his concerns about his wife’s mildly flirtatious relationship with one of her clients, Armando (Luis Gerardo Mendez), within a period of time. a few minutes. If the second and last acts of the film were better, then the breathless treatment in Hamburg Time for meThe first third might be more forgivable.

Kevin Hart and Regina Hall stand together at a bar in Netflix's Me Time.
Saeed Adyani/Netflix

That’s the problem Time for me maintains its odd pace throughout its running time. While this allows the film to maintain a constant sense of forward momentum, it also highlights the half-formed nature of so much of the Time for mesets and twists. Even worse, Hamburg doesn’t even deliver on Huck’s huge 44th birthday promise. The event is initially set to be centered on Time for mebut is ultimately abandoned a third of the way through the film’s second act.

Huck’s birthday is then followed by a series of mishaps, bad decisions, and surprisingly useless comedic shenanigans, all of which seem disappointingly familiar and clichéd. Also, the film’s biggest plot beats are so loosely connected that it’s hard to remember how Time for me it even goes from one to the other throughout its history. Therefore, instead of feeling like a consistently crazy story about one man’s misguided attempts to regain his youth, Time for me it ends up coming across more like the first draft of a studio comedy you’ve already seen a hundred times before.

The nonsensical plot of the film leaves the actors completely stranded as well. Mark Wahlberg, in particular, fails as Huck, who easily ranks as one of the most underwritten and thinly sketched characters that Fighter and Ted star has ever played. Despite ranking as one of Hollywood’s most charismatic and charming actresses, Regina Hall similarly doesn’t have much to do as Maya, the successful wife of Hart’s childish Sonny.

The fact that Hall, Wahlberg and Hart are wasted Time for me in the end, it’s indicative of just how much of a failure Netflix’s comedy really is. Not only is it a forgettable attempt to do what hundreds of other movies have already done better, but it’s not even able to give Regina Hall and Kevin Hart a single memorable scene together. In other words, don’t let the appealingly short runtime fool you—there are a dozen better ways to kill a few hours this weekend than watching Time for me.

Time for me premieres Friday, August 26 on Netflix.

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