Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hancock (2008)

Hancock (Will Smith): [after seeing a video of him throwing a whale back into the ocean] I don't remember that.
Ray (Jason Bateman): Well, Greenpeace does.

Ray: You're an asshole. I know. I call it like I see it, though. It's not a crime to be an asshole, but it's very counter-productive. Not a crime, but you are an asshole, don't you think?
Hancock: Be careful.

Mary (Charlize Theron): [referring to Hancock] We broke up decades ago. Long before you were born. He just can't remember.
Ray: But you can, right? You knew? That's something you might want to bring up on the first date, Mary. I don't like to travel, I'm allergic to cats, I'm immortal.

At a glance: Will Smith’s turn as an offbeat, crass superhero has plenty of originality and a good supporting cast, but it suffers from a redemption story that will be unbelievable for most viewers.

Hancock (Will Smith) can best be described as a superhero street person who perhaps was just let out of a mental institution. He drinks heavily, sleeps on park benches, wears dirty clothes, and pinches women’s behinds as they walk by. He saves lives, too, but, like an overgrown, clumsy child, he always causes plenty of residual damage to surrounding cars, roads, and buildings while he is doing it. Consequently, the public, for the most part, despises him. Enter (Jason Bateman), a perky but unsuccessful advertising executive who believes he can fix Hancock’s image. The concept is original and promising, but where can it go? Hancock does not seem to care; indeed, he seems depressed. But Will Smith’s Hancock is less of a charming oaf and more ‘mentally challenged’. And admittedly, I had some misgivings about the safety of having a mentallly challenged person with superhuman powers gallivanting about the film. The redemption story works if you can accept the fact that Hancock goes from being crass and mentally challenged to being, well, Will Smith, all in the space of about 30 minutes. This is Smith’s own personal The Last Action Hero. It’s probably considered a failed effort – the reviews were, for the most part, negative – but I found enough originality here to make it worthwhile, and the supporting cast (Bateman, and Charlize Theron) help. Rating: 2.75 of 4

"Hancock is a movie that tosses the genre cookie cutter under the bus."
- Lori Hoffman (Atlantic City Weekly)

"The phony mythos turns into equally spurious pathos that plays like bathos because not one iota of the sentiment or sympathy has been earned."
- Ken Hanke (Mountain Xpress [Asheville, NC])

"Hancock endures by finding the right rhythm to match its star, and by lashing enough amusing moments together to provide a trim 92 minutes of entertainment."
- Rob Vaux (Flipside Movie Emporium)

"While by no means a perfect film, I still found a lot to enjoy here. There have been at least two dozen superhero movies in the last six or seven years. It's kind of nice to see one that looks at things from the other side of the coin."
- Mike McGranaghan (Aisle Seat)

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