"Seven Pounds" has a heart as big as all outdoors. Unfortunately, it's made out of high-fructose bull.
Will Smith is a first-rate actor and a first-rate movie star. He's not the problem, although if a major player green-lights a more grandiose and specious screenplay about redemption any time this century, it'll be a miracle.
Two years ago, Smith and director Gabriele Muccino fashioned an improbable global success out of "The Pursuit
of Happyness," thanks also to screenwriter Steve Conrad.
While that fact-based film had its share of dubious romanticism, you bought it; the emotional payoffs worked; Smith's performance kept the whole thing honest.
This time Smith and Muccino are dealing with an elaborate scenario straight out of Cloud Cuckoo-land.
Smith's character, an Internal Revenue Service agent named Ben, has committed a terrible deed. We are not shown the
particulars until the end. At the outset we see a man whose soul is clearly in torment -- cruel, bullying, anguished.
He appears to be investigating a carefully selected group of people's cases. Woody Harrelson plays a blind pianist.
Barry Pepper plays Ben's estranged friend. Elpidia Carrillo's Connie is trapped in an abusive relationship. Michael
Ealy portrays Ben's brother, who early on mentions that reclusive Ben, living out at the fabulous family beach house,
has borrowed something from him that he needs back.
The key supporting role is that of a seriously ill heart patient played by Rosario Dawson, whom the camera hearts
Without blowing the secrets of "Seven Pounds," it soon becomes clear Ben is out to redeem himself and help this
collection of strangers, Dawson's character among them. Then Ben realizes he too hearts this woman. And so they must
have discreet golden-hued love.
Even with Smith in there, slugging, every scene, Ben remains a device of superhuman (or superstar) empathy.
"Seven Pounds" is all about extending a hand and breaking out of your shell, as is another major release this week,
But in practical terms it boils down to Smith and Dawson having picnics in impossibly pretty fields of flowers
while cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd and composer Angelo Milli pour it on. This redemption racket looks mighty appealing!
And yet it isn't. Will "Seven Pounds" affect some people? I'm sure it will.
For others, watching this all-too-literal heart-tugger will make them long for a simpler, truer story about second
chances and making amends. The film is likely to be the sternest test to date of Smith's box-office prowess. If he puts
this one over, he can do anything.
Seven Pounds Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality).
Running time: 2:04.
Starring: Will Smith (Ben); Rosario Dawson (Emily); Michael Ealy (Ben's bother); Barry Pepper (Dan); Woody Harrelson (Ezra); Elpidia Carrillo (Connie).
Directed by Gabriele Muccino; written by Grant Nieporte; photographed by Philippe Le Sourd; edited by Hughes Winborne; music by Angelo Milli; production designed by J. Michael Riva; produced by Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch and Will Smith. A Columbia Pictures release.
This charmless film concerns two lifelong friends, played by Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, whose competing weddings, mistakenly scheduled for the same day at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel, turn bride-to-be against bride-to-be. Half the comedies made in Hollywood are based on the premise of boy-men acting like idiots. Switching the gender and toning down the vulgarity to a PG level offers only change, not improvement. Hathaway in particular deserves better material.
Based on a book by Bishop T.D. Jakes, this film is a faith-based love story, secondarily about God's role in the care and feeding of an L.A. couple's turbulent marriage. Thanks to Morris Chestnut, whose warm, easy screen presence was an asset way back in "Boyz N the Hood," and to Taraji P. Henson, a by-the-book scenario (described by screenwriter Brian Bird as "sort of a male version of the film 'Waiting to Exhale'") ends up being pretty entertaining.
However sterling the craftsmanship, the film adaptation of Richard Yates' 1961 novel -- an excoriating portrait of a
mid-1950s marriage built on sticks, straw and delusion -- inflates the meaning and buffs the atmospheric surfaces of
the story, rather than digging into its guts.
But when stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet unleash their
character's demons, "Revolutionary Road" loses its tight, controlled sense of composition and air of solemnity
and, in human terms, matters.
Jim Carrey plays a loan officer who cannot get out of his self-pitying rut three years after a breakup. Then he encounters a self-help guru (Terence Stamp, in his first genuinely funny screen appearance) who challenges his followers to say yes to every single thing that comes their way. Zooey Deschanel plays the love interest, a bohemian L.A. girl.
Clint Eastwood performance as a reclusive Korean War veteran toughing it out in a sketchy Detroit-area neighborhood may well lead to his first Academy Award for acting. After the vets young neighbor (Bee Vang) breaks into his garage to steal the car for which this film is named, our hero sets out to teach the boy how to stand up to his venal gangsta cousins.
This earnest, emotional film is a mixed but pretty interesting bag, though its G rating may mislead some parents into taking 4 or 5 year-olds to it, which could lead to some freakouts. Much of the movie, based on a Newbery Medal-winning book, has a grim narrative.
Seven Pounds starring Will Smith Movie Review | Michael Phillips Reviews Seven Pounds Seven Pounds Movie Review & Movie Trailer
Seven Pounds stars Will Smith.
Seven Pounds in Theaters this weekend Seven Pounds movie review and movie trailer