Tuesday, July 01, 2008

HANCOCK: It's The SuperHobo!

HANCOCK (fantasy comedy)
Cast: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman and Eddie Marsan

Director: Peter Berg

Time: 91 mins

Rating: * * 1/2 (Out of 4)

The big deal is that superheroes need not be nice and heroic all the time. They need not save
the cat from trees or say you've done a 'Good job' when you haven't. Superheroes can be arseholes if they want to be. This high concept movie, which is reminiscent of 'Superman III' where our hero turned nasty, provides goofy fun and quick-cut action - until it takes a radical plot turn and loses its way.

Hancock (WIll Smith) is a devil-may-care-type of 'superhobo' who causes more harm and damage with
his good deeds than the criminals of Los Angeles. He is wanted by the cops, the people hiss at him and many are suing him for damages. Help comes in the form of Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), an idealistic PR exec who offers to give him a much-needed makeover.

Ray convinces Hancock to give himself up and spend some time in jail in an effort to make up for his
mistakes. This is his plan for Hancock to win back the trust of the public. However, when Ray's wife Mary (Charlize Theron) reveals a secret of her own, Hancock's already screwed-up life spirals even further out of control. And so does the movie.

This weird twist in the plot is not a bad thing by itself. If it had been properly developed,
especially earlier in the movie, it would have provided an interesting background to the origin of Hanccock. However, the way this 'second act' is played out, it seems to have been like a last-minute change of the script. The quirky odd-couple relationship of Ray and Hancock of the 'first act' turns out to be largely wasted.

As the lead, Hancock is Smith's least charming role. Few in the audience can connect with his anti-hero - not even
with the support of Theron, whose role as a squeeky-clean suburban mom hides an Earth-shattering secret. She is watchable here - and so are Bateman and Jae Head as Ray's son, Aaron. As for the action, there is enough of it to sustain our interest, although director Peter Berg tends to 'blur' the stunts and cheat our eyes.

Not as involving as 'I Am Legend' but watchable for its little conceit - as opposed to 'high concept'.


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