Not So Super

1 Jul

I suppose the good news is that there’s hope for the rest of us.

That’s because the bad news is Will Smith is not perfect.

His latest movie, Hancock, is one of the bigger disappointments of the season.

The concept’s great: Smith stars as sort of an anti-superhero hero. While the bad guys are shooting ’em up, Hancock is passed out drunk on a bus station bench.

When he does save the day, he causes more damage and destruction. People view him not as a good guy but as an asshole.

(Sorry, Dad. That’s what they call him in the movie.)

So when Hancock inadvertently saves actual good guy and unsuccessful PR agent Ray (Jason Bateman), the hero becomes the unwitting participant in a makeover campaign to improve his public image.

I don’t know. Something about that concept and the trailer — particularly the shot of Smith throwing a beached whale back into the ocean … and right onto a sailboat — made me excited for Hancock.

But for a change, a Will Smith movie kinda sucks.

That’s partly because Smith isn’t playing a very likable character here.

Even when he’s “rehabilitated,” you can’t really root for him like you can in a movie like I Am Legend or The Pursuit of Happyness.

Hancock’s just not having any fun, and his contempt for his own powers, his mean-spiritedness, his utter unwillingness to shape up, doesn’t really engage the audience.

More importantly, in the hands of director Peter Berg (The Kingdom), Hancock is just a loud, dumb, messy action flick, with violence for violence’s sake, a dark tone, a hip-hop soundtrack, and a plot twist involving Charlize Theron that’s telegraphed pretty obviously.

Berg (with the help of various writers over the years) even throws away the goodwill that comes when Hancock turns from zero to hero by pummeling the audience with so much gunplay and volume.

You wish we’d been able to see more of Hancock doing things that earn him the public’s love. That might have made for some good, endearing comedy.

You also wish you could learn why Hancock is so obsessed with eagles. (What, is he a B.C. alum or something?)

Alas, with a 92-minute running time, cuts have to be made.

Oh, and the ending is one of the lamest I’ve ever seen. It’ll make you cringe and wonder where Smith’s credibility went.

That’s right: not even Will Smith can save this movie.

Hancock only earns a C from me.

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