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Me Time can’t really pull off its own plot
Netflix

Me Time can’t really pull off its own plot

by Tómas Atli Einarsson 4 min. 01.09.2022
The film sets up conflicts that either aren’t really conflicts, leaving you wondering whether anything really happened in the film at all, says Tom Einarsson
Sonny makes for a great ‘Mr. Mom’ type to his son and daughter
Sonny makes for a great ‘Mr. Mom’ type to his son and daughter
Photo credit: Official trailer screenshot

Films like Me Time seem to appear out of a vacuum: hardly any marketing – or effort, for that matter - seems to go into these multi-million-dollar productions that suddenly materialise on Netflix’s homepage out of thin air. Even stranger, this one gives the impression of being a cohesive narrative while nothing really happens in it. 

Directed by John Hamburg (who has brought you zany comedy-zingers like Meet the Parents, Zoolander and Along Came Polly), Me Time sees a stay-at-home dad named Sonny Fisher really let loose when his architect wife takes the kids on a holiday for a week. 

Things predictably go pear-shaped when Sonny (played by an admittedly charismatic Kevin Hart) meets up with his oldest friend (played by a tired-looking Mark Wahlberg) to celebrate the latter turning 44. 

Conflicts

Sonny, it should be noted, does make for a great ‘Mr. Mom’ type to his son and daughter, being the president of the parent-teacher association and a master lunch-packer. His wife Maya (Regina Hall), a successful architect, has little to no time to spend with the little rascals and has an eccentric billionaire client which Sonny deeply dislikes. The Fisher household is a tight ship run by Sonny who hasn’t had a break in years and thinks Maya and her client are getting too close for his comfort. It's the perfect moment for him to get some so-called me time. 

This premise has the potential to be Hangover-esque: an otherwise square guy wants to unwind and party with friends. The party spins out of control. Hungover and broke, he and his buddy find themselves in a huge mess that they will have to sort out before the wife finds out and lands in the arms of her billionaire admirer. 

Photo: Official trailer screenshot

Well, party they do. Huck’s big birthday bash is to be held in the desert and resembles a miniature Burning Man festival. Everything’s going great until a loan shark shows up and demands that Huck pay him back the $47,000 he owes him. Huck quite clearly can’t and so the loan-shark has his Israeli henchwoman burn the whole place down, hipster tipi tents and all. 

But now they’ve got nothing to lose, and so Sonny and Huck decide to keep the party going and mess with the ultra-rich jerk that’s too cosy with his wife. They go to his mansion and steal all his left shoes, rub his cutlery on their private parts, accidentally injure his pet turtle and so on. Then they go to Sonny’s perfect suburban home where tons of people have shown up to party. Things escalate, the wife’s angry, Sonny’s car is trashed, someone ruins his son’s Lego Death Star, Seal makes an appearance for some reason, and things are looking bad. 

The rest of Me Time is quite literally reserved for grand statements about the importance of family and friendship, long talks with the wife about money and work and letting his kids follow their dreams. 

Stumbling plot

Again and again, the plot stumbles over its own conflicts in this way and spends ages resolving issues that – as it turns out –didn’t require much more than a heartfelt and apologetic soliloquy. 

In the most basic of these narrative terms, Me Time can’t really pull off its own plot. It sets up conflicts that either aren’t really conflicts (Sonny’s car gets wrecked but it’s okay because the insurance will replace it anyway) or rigidly straightens things out in overwritten and overwrought let’s-all-hug-it-out sequences that make you wonder whether anything really happened in the film at all. 

It turns out that the millionaire had a girlfriend the entire time, so that was never really an issue to begin with. Sonny gets the brand spanking new Honda Odyssey through insurance fraud, which is a really bizarre way to tie up that plot thread and get some heavy-handed product placement in. 

But Me Time’s hollow writing is perhaps most jarringly obvious with the film’s ending, which hilariously has spawned online articles explaining it. Sonny comes to rescue Huck who has taken on a job for the loan shark and promises to pay off his debts. Then, for no reason whatsoever, they trash the loan shark’s yacht similarly to how they trashed the billionaire’s mansion. 

The loan shark is never heard from again and Sonny and Huck walk off into the sunset after starting a business venture together. Me Time, from start to nonsensical end, has essentially no interest whatsoever in exploring conflict, consequences or anything resembling ethics which its main character can’t stop banging on about. 

Thinking too much about a film like Me Time risks forgetting the fact that nothing really happens in it. No one seems to really care for actions or consequences while every problem is solvable with minimal effort and without the need for moral reflection. For a film that appeared out of thin air, Me Time may as well have been written by an algorithm which almost – but not fully – understands how to write a script complete with characters and a plot.


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