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Just Don’t Call Him an A**Hole: Hancock

December 11, 2008

HANCOCK (2008)
d. Peter Berg

This movie is another Will Smith vehicle that plays to his strengths and definitely shows off his charisma, but it is also displays how undemanding many of his roles can be.

Will Smith Knows How To Score With The Ladies

Will Smith Knows How To Score With The Ladies

Hancock is a great flawed character — we meet him at his lowest point: drunk, beligerent and uncaring. The story does a good job of establishing how much of a turnaround Hancock has to go through in order to not just win the favor of the people within the film world, but ours as well. He is aided in this endeavor by Jason Bateman, a PR man also at a low point in his career, who lends comedic relief that tends to be a bit too goofy for the most part. His wife, Charlize Theron, looks great, and tips us off way too early that she has a past connection with Will Smith.

This secret is revealed in the third act and it is actually a cool plot point as it connects to Will Smith’s past. What we don’t get is an origin story which is fine, but the vagueness of Hancock’s beginnings feels like a narrative cheat. There is also a tense showdown toward the end where Hancock’s fate appears dire, but being a super-hero film, the outcome is never really in doubt.

And that is this film’s problem. It doesn’t find a balance or tone where we feel that the characters’ lives are in jeopardy and it tends towards the light (as in light-weight) end of the scale. And because it tends toward that end of the scale, it seems ridiculous when Charlize, who has been successfully guarding her secret for many years, pretty much blows it all in a public place in broad daylight. Dumb!

I was also suprised by how much language there is in this PG-13 movie. I’m pretty sure they broke the “one fuck” rule, where a PG-13 movie is only allowed the F-word once; and I’m positive they broke the record for how many times “asshole” is said in this film, but I guess you can say it many times without tipping over into R-rated territory. And, note to self, you can show a person’s head shoved up another person’s ass and still get PG-13 if it’s done as comedy. And you can have super-sperm blow holes in the roof of a trailer, too! Really!

(**note: I watched the Unrated DVD of Hancock. Ah, now I get it.)

Still, there are a lot of great ideas about a superhuman isolated among mere mortals and how that can affect such a person psychologically. And the special effects supervised by the master, John Dykstra, are pretty amazing. I especially love the physics of Hancock’s take-offs and landings; very cool.

Overall, a lightweight entertaining film with lots of great ideas.

**1/2

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One comment

  1. hey..

    Great review..
    I personally loved the movie..the concept of superhero and infact super heroin is great..
    in fact i just bought a DVD n yes its great fun watching those stunts once again..



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