Is Will Smith still a national treasure? That’s what the second trailer for Focus has me considering. Years ago it was impossible to find someone who hadn’t succumbed to the charms of Big Willie. Not only did he give us “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It”, but he quickly proved himself as a hugely bankable and likable movie star. Smith was a charismatic star, but not exactly an actor with massive range. Great actors have the capability of surprising audiences, but Smith, by and large, gave his fans what they wanted. Every once in a while he’d change things up, but we’d usually end up with the same wisecracking presence onscreen, and there’s nothing entirely wrong with that. There was a demand for his easygoing charm, at least until recently.
His last starring role was in After Earth — a major critical and box-office failure and all around bad movie. This year he did his buddy, Akiva Goldsman, a solid by appearing in Winter’s Tale and, boy, he must be one helluva friend, because he did Goldsman more than a favor by showing his face in that movie.
Now, more than a year and a half after After Earth, Will Smith is back in a starring role with Focus, a film from Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. The con film, which co-stars Margot Robbie, looks real slick, pretty and charming.
Checkout the trailer for Focus:
Apparently this film cost $100 million, which blows my mind, but if a studio wants to give Ficarra and Requa that much money, nothing wrong with that. The duo directed I Love You Phillip Morris, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and co-wrote Bad Santa. They’re sharp filmmakers who know how to balance tones, which is the kind of touch a movie like Focus needs. From what I’ve heard, they were considering different versions of the film in post-production – one on the lighter side, another a little more serious. This trailer is definitely on the lighter side. Who knows which version we’ll actually see, though.
One thing is fore sure: Warner Bros. must really like Will Smith and Margot Robbie in this movie. They cast the pair in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, so there must be some chemistry between the two. I’m curious to see where Robbie’s career goes after her terrific and overlooked performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, but Smith is the big question mark here. Does he have the clout he once had? We’ll find out once we see Focus.
Focus opens in theaters February 27th.