The Man From Toronto (2022)
The protagonist of Netflix’s “The Man From Toronto” Teddy (Kevin Hart), is an annoying, motor-mouthed underachiever. Anyone who can endure more than ten minutes in his company deserves a commendation for perseverance. The latest film from director Patrick Hughes is a 112-minute hodgepodge of so many other films that it becomes the most obnoxious of cinematic collages. The darkly comic hitman thriller, the goofy loser attempting to prove himself underdogs, the standup comedian vanity project, the mistaken identity plot, and the violent actioner are all signposts on this trip. This is the type of project that only adds fuel to my conviction that many Netflix movies are made just for background noise while people fold laundry or vacuum cat hair off their IKEA furniture. When you return, you may easily walk away after each ten minutes and not be aware of anything.
Torontonian is a crime thriller with Woody Harrelson as the titular Torontonian, a very successful assassin known for his sadistic reputation. We see him in action early on in the film. The Man From Toronto (as he’s credited) displays an impressive collection of cutlery in front of his victims before telling his origins tale when hired to obtain information by any means necessary. And, likewise, when his grandpa was attacked by a grizzly bear as a youngster growing up “on a frozen lake 500 miles from nowhere,” the beast made mincemeat of him while his grandson watched from afar. When pleading for forgiveness once the abuse begins has no impact; any compassion the killer had died with him on that frozen lake. The tale works—the guy admits to committing murder and is given a death sentence far quicker than if he had remained silent.
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writers: Robbie Fox(screenplay by), Chris Bremner(screenplay), Jason Blumenthal(story by)
Stars: Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson, Kaley Cuoco
The Man from Toronto is in service to a woman known as the “Handler.” The actor who plays her first attempts to hide her identity, but her distinct voice instantly identifies him. Men are stationed all around the world by the Handler (as she is credited). When she suspects that her man in Toronto has gone renegade, she will summon them. These guys have huge egos, and it appears that their Canadian colleague is in the shadow of his fame. The Miami guy (Pierson Fode), who was seen murdering a man with a golf club before being arrested, has an unknown feud with someone that brings him back like a bad penny.
So much for the darkly comic hitman thriller plot component. The tale of the underachiever is told by Teddy. He’s such a failure that his patient, devoted wife, Lori (Jasmine Mathews), tells him her company uses his name to refer to people who botch things up. She exclaims, “You’re a verb!” with delight. In the opening sequence of “The Man From Toronto,” we see her spouse being teddied over and over again, which is a reference to online workout videos that begin with “The Man From Toronto.” At least Hart is diesel enough to play a guy advertising weight-training products like the “TeddyBand” (which smacks him across the face) and the “TeddyBar,” a pull-up bar whose exercise consists of its user being unintentionally crushed beneath the falling equipment.