The Man from Toronto is bad. Let’s get that out of the way here and now. What starts off with an interesting premise, with some solid talent behind it, quickly devolves into a nonsensical mess that is not exciting, fun or interesting. Even with actors like Kaley Cuoco and Woody Harrelson, the pure lunacy at the core of the film keeps it from even achieving the faintest of chuckles during its nonsensical one hour 50 minute runtime.
Banking on the complete suspension of disbelief, The Man from Toronto centres around Kevin Hart’s Teddy, a gym guru failure who in an effort to do something for his wife Ruth (Jasmine Mathews) rents a cabin for a little getaway, the only issue is the printer ran out of ink. That little mistake leads to Teddy ending up at the wrong house and being mistaken for the enigmatic Man from Toronto.
With a plot underway and Teddy as their only way in, the US government decides to use him to infiltrate the criminal underworld. This plan quickly goes off the rails when the real Randy “The Man From Toronto” (Woody Harrelson) is made aware of what is going on and will do all he can to secure his payday and finish the job he was hired to do. With everything starting to fall apart and the job quickly going from bad to worse, Teddy and Randy must team up to get things done.
If that narrative sounded like a bunch of word salad, don’t worry, you are not the only one who thinks that. The Man from Toronto, despite its early scenes and some interesting concepts at the movie’s core, never feels like it makes any sense whatsoever. Suspension of disbelief is expected in an action-comedy, but when nothing makes sense, and each new scene feels like a new trainwreck, the movie quickly runs out of steam.
Kevin Hart’s Teddy feels far too bumbling to ever be mistaken for a trained, near-perfect contract interrogator. Known for being a man of few words, Woody Harrelson’s The Man From Toronto has a sense of mystery and intimidation around everything he does. That contrast in dynamic is what is supposed to bring the comedy to the film, but it never fully works.
I did not believe the Teddy in the film could ever even function in normal society, let alone in the world of spies and covert ops. The movie also never manages to make the relationship between Teddy and The Man From Toronto make any logical sense, so when major shifts take place in the movie’s third act, they feel unearned, and ultimately lack the emotional impact they could have had.
That is not even touching on the film’s plot or bananas runtime. At 1 hour 50 minutes The Man from Toronto overstays its welcome. There is potentially a solid 90-minute romp at the core of this bloated blockbuster, but it is simply drawing in random plot concepts, action set pieces that lack grounding, and a core story that never feels throughout or is truly memorable.
At the hour mark I was checking my watch, and every fifteen minutes past that I could not believe how much was still left to go. While I love a complex narrative and some good twists to keep the audience guessing, they need to be earned and make sense, and in The Man from Toronto, neither of these things is true.
“Avoid The Man from Toronto at all costs; no one’s time is worth the comedy black hole this movie ended up being.”
While most of the film misses the mark, Woody Harrelson manages to deliver a solid performance. He manages the fine line between menacing and endearing, showing there is depth beyond the stern and cold front. There are also some interesting concepts used in the world of assassins. The Man from Toronto is a part. With each member of the shadowy organization only known for the city they are from, it gives a similar feeling to the world behind John Wick. Sadly, it never fleshes out this world, leaving only a taste of what could have been with a better script.
The Man from Toronto feels like a film with many ideas but never knew how to rectify them in a cohesive end product. There are hints of great concepts and potential fun adventures, but the movie constantly manages to drop the ball and deliver unfunny joke after joke rather than make a movie worth anyone’s time. This is a tedious, overly long slog that squanders what little ideas it manages to bring to the table.
With a bloated third act, actors that lack chemistry, and a storyline that makes little to no sense, The Man from Toronto is a film best avoided. Even on streaming, this is close to two hours you will never get back, and even with a fun performance by Woody Harrelson, it is not enough to make the watching of this movie anything more than an exercise in saint-level patience. Avoid The Man from Toronto at all costs; no one’s time is worth the comedy black hole this movie ended up being.