The fourth of July weekend is upon us which means it's about time for the new Will Smith movie to arrive in theaters, and for this years installment we get "Hancock". The Trailers set up "Hancock" as a studio funded answer to all of the costumed superhero movies that have overtaken the multi-plexes in recent years. "Hancock" is sold as a comedy about a down and out hero who likes to drink however after ninety minutes of sloshy gags mixed with sappy sentiment and served chilled over a confusing back story; it leaves you with a movie hangover and wondering what the point of "Hancock" actually was.
The idea of a drunk superhero isn't new, recalling that Marvel comics broke a lot of ground when they published the alcoholic story arc of Tony Stark as "Iron Man". However "Hancock" is a comedy and reminds us that Hollywood believes that the average movie going public thinks drunks and drinking are okay. Especially when slapstick comedy is involved, as long as it presented by a big name star like Will Smith and is tied to some kind of redemption story where the alcoholic makes right, quits drinking and does something with their life. And as the formula goes, "Hancock" follows this recipe to the letter. Yet there are a few other ingredients in "Hancock" that makes you wonder which way director Peter Berg was going.
There's the whole weird three way emasculated male thing happening with Will Smith and the supporting cast. Jason Bateman appears as this gee-whiz PR guy who wants to save the world. His character is married to Charlize Theron's character who seems a little too hot to be hanging around with Jason Bateman and suspect the moment she comes on screen. The mixed up back story that gets revealed leaves you wondering if you should laugh or cry - is the tension between the three stars supposed to be funny? Sad? Do we even care because we're really just waiting for the next drunk superhero joke?
This off kilter pace for the punch lines is offset by over the top action scenes that share this mixed message symptom. Sometimes the ridiculous gun-laden scenes are almost silly, and others seem deeply disturbed. Should we be shocked or smile when the ax falls or the row of innocent hostages squirm with bombs strapped to their chests? Hancock's misguided delivery defuses the film as forgettable summer fare and reminds us that sometimes the trailer really is better than the movie.
Wishing they hadn't destroyed a perfectly good bmw 2002 in the train scene early on in "Hancock", for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2008 - Purple - Air Date: 7/2/08
USA - 2008