Wait a minute. Did family-friendly, man for all seasons and genres Will Smith
just say he was going to put his foot up some old lady’s ass? Hey, I’m already liking this movie.
My affection for “Hancock,” however, was pretty short-lived. Smith is at his scrubbiest in this action flick about a homeless man with super natural powers and a nasty disposition. For all the good that he does, Hancock is loathed by those who know him and those who don’t.
Set in Los Angeles, “Hancock” is all about the chuckles in the beginning with Smith delivering a slew of profanity-laced one-liners. But even a charismatic two-time Oscar nominee like Smith and a top-notch director like Peter Berg, can’t rise above the mediocre material they’ve been given to work with.
The film really starts to get a little whack when Smith hooks up with a PR dude named Ray Embry (Jason Bateman
) who thinks he can transform Hancock into a likable commodity. Ray figures if he cleans him up, dresses him in some tight super hero outfit, works on his attitude and makes him turn himself into the police for various crimes that he’s committed, that people will respond positively to Hancock.
Ray discusses his vision with his new mentee over spaghetti and meatballs at his home in the San Fernando Valley. While Ray’s son takes an immediate liking to his dad’s new pal, his wife Mary (Charlize Theron) isn’t feeling him at all—especially after Hancock tells her son how to handle bullies on the playground.
Talk about the big chill. Mary is so icy that it doesn’t take a Ph.D to figure out that something is terribly amiss. Could this be another case of jungle fever? Or was Mary a hooker in a previous lifetime?
Later in the film we find out why Mary has issues with Hancock. But by that time, you don’t really care any more. And if you did care, you might not even understand what’s really going on because the plot starts to get very confusing and convoluted.
Casting Smith was a brilliant move as his hits far outweigh his bombs. That said, it’s probably time for him to stop saving the world—particularly on the Fourth of July weekend.
In many ways “Hancock” is “I Am Legend” set in L.A. as opposed to New York City.
Pretty soon Smith is going to run out of people to save.