Saturday, December 30, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: Pursuit of Happyness

I saw the trailer a while back and I thought, "Okay, this doesn't look half bad, It's got Will Smith it seems like a very nice drama." A month or so later and I forgot about it. So this one opened a few weeks ago and it opened big. My wife and I saw it yesterday, and I gotta say that Will Smith has definitely impressed me. This film was pretty good but it was very mundane, it was just average. Will Smith on the other hand, the way he played this, got his hooks into me and I was riveted. I had to watch the rest even though I already knew that it was going to have the Hollywood ending. (I had read about the real Chris Gardner in a magazine. Let's just say the guy isn't living in bathrooms anymore.)

Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a hard on his luck salesman trying to raise a son (Jaden Smith) in very turbulent times. He is barely making ends meet selling Bone Density scanners to Doctors. He can't pay his rent his wife (Thandie Newton) is working three jobs and coming to the end of her rope. Finally, the wife leaves him high and dry to raise their son by himself. He gets an internship at Dean Witter while trying to avoid homelessness at night.

There is nothing amazing or different about this story that you haven't seen or heard before. A good father put through difficult times has all of his choices taken from him. He is smart but has never A. really applied himself properly for a career or B. has never been given an opportunity for a career. His wife leaves him, which makes the stakes higher because there is a child involved. Thandie Newton as the wife does not really bring any true layers to her character. By the time we see her she is a miserable shell of a woman. She is at the end of her rope, so it makes sense that she leaves. The true heart of this story and it's mundane plot is Will Smith and Will Smith alone. His performance is very real, (maybe it helps that your kid is in the picture) he doesn't try to force it, he is an intelligent guy who is having trouble cutting it in the world and he decides to make his own destiny. He takes control, it's a tough road but he does it and he does it with dignity.

Grade: 4 Buckets

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