There’s an argument to make if you’re feeling charitable, that no dumb comedy is ever really too dumb, that there’s infinite room in streaming world, and our brains, for the low-risk gamble of silly comedy. In general, this is probably true. But you have to be really willing to sink an hour and forty minutes into the paltry hole to get through time for me in which Kevin Hart plays a doting father who chooses, against his better judgement, to embark on a crazy birthday adventure with his oldest friend, irresponsible bachelor Mark Wahlberg. Silly comedies are valuable because they allow us to turn off our brains for a while. But with the trillions of entertainment options available today, we can all afford to be a little more discerning in how low we’re willing to go and Time for me places the band around ankle height.
Written and directed by John Hamburg (The Return of Polly, I love you, man), it’s essentially a comedy about male insecurity, as viable a subject as any. Hart plays Sonny Fisher of Sherman Oaks, who takes wonderful care of his two elementary school-age children while his architect wife Maya (Regina Hall) brings home the bacon. The setting looks great, but Sonny feels threatened by Maya’s biggest client, the toothbrush king Armando (Luis Gerardo Mendes), who plans to build a turtle sanctuary with his riches. Maya and Armando get along great; Sonny feels abandoned and useless. Yet when Wahlberg’s Huck Dembo—admittedly a ridiculous fairy tale character name—invites Sonny to his 44th birthday party, Sonny declines. Now he’s a family man and barely cares about the silly things the duo used to do, like jumping off mountain ledges in flying squirrel suits. We see this in an early flashback scene where Sonny, against his better judgment, flies into a huge cave with fresh mountain air, screaming, “Yaaaahhhhhhhhhh!” sort of unfortunate stuff that Hart is particularly good at. It’s a stock move, but somehow it still makes it funny.
But even if Sonny thinks he’s outgrown his friendship with Huck, plans change. Somehow, when Maya offers to take the kids to her parents’ house for vacation, Sonny ends up on the special bus that Huck has outfitted for his big bash—with a grinning image of him on the side, along with the words, “Get Fucked. Huck has planned a mini Burning Man-style extravaganza in the desert. Huck’s friends are all much younger, a group of young partygoers in cargo shorts and bikinis; he is still not interested in settling down. (He tells Sonny that he’s following the “Clooney plan,” figuring he’ll play the single life until he’s fifty, then meet a beautiful, accomplished woman and father a set of twins.) Sonny understandably feels out of place in this setting even though he tries to be a good athlete. As he does so, he manages to enrage a mother mountain lion, who angrily chases him down a trail of rocks and brush. “I got a lion on my ass!” Sonny yells as he runs, another variation on the standard Hart thing he does so well.
Mark Wahlberg as Huck, Kevin Hart as Sonny in Me Time
As you can probably guess, things get even crazier from there. Some of Sonny and Huck’s antics are so ridiculous they might make you laugh anyway: they break into Armando’s compound and, after debating whether to free one of his beloved turtles, decide to go to his mansion instead and mess things up. This includes emptying the contents of Armando’s spice rack into the trash, stealing only the left shoe from every pair lined up in the closet, and leaving a small poop that Sonny has dutifully squeezed out on the bed. “It is?” Huck says as he sees the fruits of Sonny’s labor. “It’s like mint for a hotel pillow.”
Okay, I laughed at that. One must take joy where one can find it. But Wahlberg, whose controversial past includes assault and accusations of making racist attacks, although in recent years he has admitted that he make mistakes, will have to work harder than that to earn a buyout. While it may make people feel better about his acting skills, he has often been great in both dramatic and comedic roles (The Other Guys, Boogie Nights)—though viewers, like the actors, are only human, and anyone could be forgiven for not feeling great watching Wahlberg today. That means Hart has to carry most of the show here, which he’s more than capable of doing. But even in a dumb comedy, there’s only so much silliness that most of us can handle. You’ll need to assess your own threshold before you begin time for me especially if your own time is in short supply.
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