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Tuesday, 03 March 2015 00:00


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It has been a while since Will Smith has had a movie in theaters.  And this week, Focus had a modest week at the box office.

First off, there is a lot to like in this movie.  This has some real nice moments in many avenues. There is some real good humor here, also some wonderful moments of suspense, and overall this is a pretty good story. This also at times has a real nice musical feel, and a sense of being "different."  But this is one of those movies that for some reason, just doesn't click all the way to being really good, and stops at simply being...decent.

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Focus is the story of Nickey (Smith).  He is a big-time con man, that has a gaggle of merry men as it were, who spend their time committing small crime after small crime, slowly amassing a small fortune.  He meets Jess (Margot Robbie), who is a small time con woman.  They strike up relationship that at first is professional.  She wants "in" on the game, and wants to be a part of the "team." So they partner up, along with Nickey's group and spend Superbowl week in New Orleans ripping off thousands of people in various ways.

Then these two spark up a romantic relationship, that goes wrong, as Superbowl week closes. And Jess finds herself of the losing end.  Then, we flash forward 3 years to present day.  When Jess and Nickey find themselves face to face, and on opposite sides in a for hire con in South America at a huge car race.  How will they handle all of this? And who will out-con who?  Without giving out too much info, that is Focus.

It is good to see Smith back on the screen again and in a role that he looks comfortable in.  The real star of this movie though is Margot Robbie. She is amazing in this movie, and really controls and commands the screen when she is on it. She broke onto the scene a year or so ago in The Wolf of Wall Street, but let's be honest, that was Dicaprio's movie, not hers.  Here although Smith is the star, she is the gas in the engine of this movie.  He is very versatile here and elevates this movie and it needs her.

Trouble here is the overall story.  The idea is fine, but this movie has no accountability to it. As charming as our stars are, they are still bad people causing real misery to tons of people by stealing their money, valuables, credit cards, and even identities.  And some of that is simply not funny, or glamorous, given the present day climate of things and will hit close to the bone for many.  This also has a few real draggy spots in it, that really slows it down a ton.  True, this is not too long, it is simply non-compelling in many areas.  A final rewrite and a sharper editing blade could have made this better. 

Focus.  This is not a bad movie, not a great one either. Nothing wrong with seeing this on a winters day or night.


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