Cary, NC — Focus is a welcome return to form for Will Smith. After a few box office disappointments, and a lifetime doing sci-fi blockbusters, the superstar headlines a rather low-key, adult skewing, and very enjoyable “dram-edy” about a con man and his promising protégé.
Short on Plot but Still Entertaining
There isn’t much of a plot in Focus, which is odd for a movie about con artists. There isn’t some giant heist being planned, no life or death stakes. Usually, movies of this ilk go out of their way to complicate things, adding twists and turns to keep you off balance. There is a little bit of that here, of course, but it’s all pretty small scale. It’s refreshing, honestly, and it keeps the focus (puns!) on the two leads, both of whom do great work.
Smith Reminds Us Why He’s a Movie Star
I’ve been a little worried about Smith for a while. I’m a big fan and grew up on his films but, lately, it seems like he has just been making bad decision after bad decision. It frustrates me too, because he is so talented. Thankfully, his work in Focus reminds you why he is a movie star.
He makes everything seem effortless. The movie does do a little balancing between comedy and drama, and Smith is able to shift at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t hurt at all that he has excellent chemistry with his co-star Margot Robbie.
Robbie Steals the Show
Speaking of Robbie, you might remember her from The Wolf of Wall Street, where she played Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife. She all but stole the show there, and she comes close again here. Robbie has such a natural charm about her that I honestly can’t believe she hasn’t just exploded already. Mark my words, this kid is gonna be a huge star.
The film comes from the two guys who wrote Bad Santa and directed Crazy, Stupid, Love with Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. Those two movies give you a pretty good idea of what to expect with Focus. Not quite as edgy as Bad Santa and not quite as romantic as Crazy, Stupid, Love, Focus comfortably lies somewhere in between.
Fun Time at the Movies
What few twists and turns there are in the film aren’t terribly hard to see coming. But, you know what? That’s OK. The filmmakers deliver an entertaining ride with two engaging leads and a handful of memorable characters. Focus may not be the best “con man” movie out there, but, man, it’s well made and really entertaining. Definitely worth the trip.