Seven Pounds

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Posted December 18, 2008 in Film

Will Smith stars with aliens and zombies and superheros, yet this is his first film that’s wholly unbelievable. Smith plays Ben Thomas, a miserable IRS agent who takes his job too seriously, stalking tax offenders like Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson (both good, as always) and asking their acquaintances if they’re “Good People.” He’s obviously up to something, but we don’t find out what until it’s far too late to care—writer Grant Nieporte’s clumsy big reveal triggers giggles, not gasps. What I love about Smith’s films is that he approaches each as though the former teenage millionaire, box office king, and two-time Oscar nominee still has something to prove. If his character is going to glower and sulk and plot, then by golly, he’s going to out-Hamlet Hamlet. His commitment gives decent-enough movies the verve of a touchdown. Still, Seven Pounds is a stinker that will be immortalized as Smith’s first flop; like The Pursuit of Happyness, Smith’s last outing with director Gabriele Muccino, it’s handsome, self-serious nonsense—an anecdote from Reader’s Digest that swaggers in like a life-changing event. (Amy Nicholson)

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