5 Dollar Reviewer: Out of "Focus"

Will Smith does it again… unfortunately. The first thing you need to ask yourself when going to see the film “Focus” is if you can handle going to a sequel of “Hitch” without all of the things you liked about it. It makes sense that Smith would look to get back on track after the colossal disappointment of “After Earth,” however his work in this film is much of the same, emotionless.

If you are looking to be drastically appeased by a cunning, intelligent and humorous film about a con man who is tall, dark and handsome you may be inadequately sufficed after seeing Will Smith fake it through “Focus”. Although Smith says all of the right things as a seasoned criminal, his performance is lackluster at best and will leave you wondering: “what was the point of this film in the first place?

The film plunges right into the shallow depths of the pick pocketing schemes run by Will Smith’s character, Nicky who meets a stunning but wet behind the ears thief named Jess (Margot Robbie). Jess pleads with Nicky to apprentice her all the while they are more or less focused on each other rather than the caper, which becomes more and more convoluted.

After pulling off one of the most preposterous heists in film history, the two dissemble, as Nicky believes his feelings for Jess will hold him back and abandons her with no explanation.

Years later, the two reconnect by chance as Nicky has his sights on Jess’s new man with an even more confusing cape in mind involving an IndyCar company’s secret fuel formula.

The film uses all of the usual clichés as Jess and Nicky’s relationship unfolds and you can’t help but get confused as to what movie you are truly watching.

Is it a heist film? Not really. Is it a romantic comedy? Sure, but why all of the money, violence and attempts of plot twists that simply don’t add up? If anything it leaves you wondering what direction this film is taking itself.

Will Smith may still look twenty-eight, but a couple of steamy shirtless scenes won’t save his distant, run-of-the-mill, lethargic performance that overall leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Moviegoers like to see Smith as an action hero, or an emotional family man with depth; unfortunately, this film has him as neither and it suffers.

There are some bright spots in this film. Margot Robbie is often mesmerizing opposite the detached Smith, and her performance shines through.

She has her moments in which she steals scenes designed to capture the essence of Smith’s character and it leaves you wondering if the film would have been more enjoyable had it been centered on her instead of the wavering superstar.

Jess is the most polarizing character in the story, even if she is naive and emotional it still gives the film a sense of real human emotions and reasonable faults.  Without her the romantic connection is disjointed to say the least.

“Focus,” running about an hour and forty-five minutes long is a film that I would recommend a pass on unless you are a big Will Smith fan. It receives only one and a half out of five from myself because the story is nonsensical, the acting is only half-good, and the ending leaves more questions than answers. The movie attempts to be more than it is and nearly falls flat on its face if it weren’t for Margot Robbie literally and figuratively being Will Smith’s crutch throughout.




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