In one early scene in Me Time, Kevin Hart’s irritatingly instructive Sonny tells his child to stop watching videos of stand-ups and do their keyboard practice instead. “Enough with the comedy,” he says — a line of advice which this very unfunny film seems to have unfortunately taken to heart.
Hart’s Sonny is a very passionate parent, often to a fault. Whilst his wife Maya (an underutilised Regina Hall) works as a successful architect, Sonny cooks the meals, carries the bags and helps build the Lego sets at home. Although loving, he’s also a bit of a dictator, controlling as much of his children’s schooling as possible, and even spying on them in their bedrooms to make sure they’re studying. As helicopter parents go, he’s a shoo-in for squadron leader. Enter old friend Huck Dembo (a Mark Wahlberg name that might top his Transformers moniker Cade Yeager), the macho man-child who can show Sonny the errors of his domestic ways, with a week of debauchery.
The film avoids, for the most part, any real probing of the untrusting, power-hungry, unstable dynamics of Sonny’s marriage.
HuckChella, a birthday celebration that’s more Fyre Festival than Coachella, starts the mayhem. The party is soon crashed by a violent loan shark, diverting the story towards a generic plot-thread about debt collection. The focus then shifts to the frenzied jealousy of Maya’s employer; then to a house party with a bizarre cameo from Seal — and throughout, an alarming amount of supposedly funny animal abuse. The film avoids, for the most part, any real probing of the untrusting, power-hungry, unstable dynamics of Sonny’s marriage; instead, spiralling chaos fills the void of any emotional journey.
One highlight is Ilia Isorelýs Paulino, whose intense, anarchic Uber driver steers the film into most of its laughs. But bar those chuckles (as well as one well-placed gag after a performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’), Me Time will make you want to clock out.