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Review: Focus

Focus
02.26.2015
7 10

PLOT: A slick con artist takes on a beautiful protege whom he tries desperately not to fall in love with.

REVIEW: After what feels like a very long time outside of the A-list, Will Smith makes a comeback bid in FOCUS, a slick, mostly enjoyable caper picture which sees the former Fresh Prince play a cool-as-ice con artist who's always on the hustle. Smith proves that he's still got "it," without a doubt; his screen presence is effortless and he still convinces you he's the kind of guy who could sell sand in the desert. But Smith still finds himself with a problem here, and the problem is named Margot Robbie, who blows him - and everyone else - off the screen.

Robbie is as dynamic a newcomer I can remember seeing in movies in quite a while. It's not just that she's gorgeous, although she's certainly that (and then some). As she displayed in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, Robbie is the real deal, a magnetic vision impossible to look away from. It's one thing to be really pretty, but it's another thing to exude charisma, radiate sensuality and actually nail every scene; she genuinely seems to enjoy acting. Robbie's the next big thing, and FOCUS is like a springboard strictly devoted to her.

Smith plays a character named Nicky, a lifelong con man who's part of an unfathomably complex network of thieves. One night, purely by chance, he gets mixed up with Jess (Robbie), an amateur swindler good at picking wallets but not much else. Jess wants Nicky to teach her the ways of trade and, grudgingly (but not too grudgingly because holy god look at her), Nicky agrees. With a dozen or so cohorts, they make millions in New Orleans over Super Bowl weekend while also falling in love. But Nicky has a rule: don't let emotion get in the way of business. He abruptly dumps Jess and heads for the hills.

Three years later, fate would have it that they meet again. (There are a lot of coincidences in this plot.) This time they're both separately trying to scheme a flashy Spanish race car mogul (Rodrigo Santoro), who is shadowed by an intimidating bodyguard/father figure (Gerald McRaney). The reunited couple circle each other warily, fighting off temptation because they know it could sink them both if they're found out. They don't succeed.

Smith and Robbie make a good pair in the film, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE), and there's no doubt they're really the only reasons to see it. The plot, such as it is, is both overly-complicated and undercooked, feeling more like a string of episodes in this couple's topsy-turvy romance than an actual narrative to invest in. Caper movies about con artists always have fun pulling the rug out from everyone with clever twists and double-crosses (think THE STING or OCEAN'S ELEVEN), but FOCUS doesn't really have the goods in that department; we don't especially care about who's cheating who or why. The third act, when all the chips are finally laid on the table, doesn't wow us, none of the big revelations very consequential. We're just here to watch your two fabulous movie stars as they strut and swagger all over the screen, and maybe that's just enough.

Smith and Robbie are joined by two additional excellent performers. McRaney is a stand-out as a take-no-shit type who doesn't trust Smith's character from the get-go; their exchanges have an electric nastiness to them. And B.D. Wong has a fantastic turn as a flamboyant gambler; he's only in one sequence but it's a knock-out, perhaps the best in the film. Santoro is okay, but frankly not very intimidating; the film could use a greater threat.

But, again, this is Ms. Robbie's show. As much as a thief as her wily character, she steals every single scene she's in, and if FOCUS is a bit lacking in the ingenuity department, it's smart enough to have Robbie as the ace up its sleeve.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
9:39AM on 02/28/2015
Do you know who steals every scene? Adrian Martinez as Farhad. He has the funniest lines and gets the best reactions.
Do you know who steals every scene? Adrian Martinez as Farhad. He has the funniest lines and gets the best reactions.
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1:37PM on 02/27/2015

Sexy sexy

The movie doesn't really fall apart, the tone does change in the second half though. Smith and Robbie are still excellent tho and the movie looks great. If you guys would like I have a video review here. If you felt informed, liked, or feel this could be better, please don't hesitate to give me some pointers. Really want to grow this.

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The movie doesn't really fall apart, the tone does change in the second half though. Smith and Robbie are still excellent tho and the movie looks great. If you guys would like I have a video review here. If you felt informed, liked, or feel this could be better, please don't hesitate to give me some pointers. Really want to grow this.

[link]
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+0
10:37PM on 02/26/2015
Smith and Robbie have great chemistry.
Smith and Robbie have great chemistry.
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+3
9:16PM on 02/26/2015

Margot Robbie!

i think the truest thing i've heard said about her was actually when she first appears in Wolf of Wall Street: "i would let her give me aids."
i think the truest thing i've heard said about her was actually when she first appears in Wolf of Wall Street: "i would let her give me aids."
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4:26PM on 02/26/2015
It looks like another Will Smith film where Will Smith plays Will Smith.
It looks like another Will Smith film where Will Smith plays Will Smith.
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11:58PM on 02/26/2015
Exactly.
Exactly.
+2
3:58PM on 02/26/2015
There really isn't much out this weekend and this one looks fun. I'm In. I'm sure it will have an outstanding weekend.
There really isn't much out this weekend and this one looks fun. I'm In. I'm sure it will have an outstanding weekend.
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3:09PM on 02/26/2015

Margot Robbie seems like the real deal

She obviously turned heads in WOLF OF WALL STREET and, if this review is to be believed, she steals the show here. The fact that she's a former soap opera actor caught my attention: those actors have to have their shit together fast if they want to do well, so that was a great proving ground for her. Looking forward to her performance as Harley Quinn in SUICIDE SQUAD.
She obviously turned heads in WOLF OF WALL STREET and, if this review is to be believed, she steals the show here. The fact that she's a former soap opera actor caught my attention: those actors have to have their shit together fast if they want to do well, so that was a great proving ground for her. Looking forward to her performance as Harley Quinn in SUICIDE SQUAD.
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2:48PM on 02/26/2015
Wow I'm surprised. I wanted to see it due to Will Smith but I didn't think this movie would be much after seeing the previews. But now I think I'll give it a shot.
Wow I'm surprised. I wanted to see it due to Will Smith but I didn't think this movie would be much after seeing the previews. But now I think I'll give it a shot.
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-4
2:34PM on 02/26/2015
No idea how this movie is getting good reviews. I agree on the plot. Too many plot twists, the villain is boring and typical, and the story itself just isn't that interesting. I disagree about Robbie. She just wasn't that interesting, at all. Her acting felt like acting. She came off as the typical femme fatale, good looking, but not much in the way of depth (she was a foster kid!). Will Smith is the most interesting thing about the film, but even he isn't that interesting in the film. My main
No idea how this movie is getting good reviews. I agree on the plot. Too many plot twists, the villain is boring and typical, and the story itself just isn't that interesting. I disagree about Robbie. She just wasn't that interesting, at all. Her acting felt like acting. She came off as the typical femme fatale, good looking, but not much in the way of depth (she was a foster kid!). Will Smith is the most interesting thing about the film, but even he isn't that interesting in the film. My main problem is that he lacks the energy that always made him such a fun guy to see on screen. It's simply gone here. There were seldom times I got the sense that he was having fun in the movie. Most of the time he felt like he was doing this to be in a movie again and try to make a rebound. Maybe that's just who he is these days, a guy who doesn't put a lot of energy into what he does. The charisma is still there, mostly, but without that energy and enthusiasm he's always had, I just don't find him all that entertaining to watch. Could be just me though. Mostly didn't like the film, gets a 4-5/10 from me.
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-2
11:29AM on 02/26/2015
Im just glad this is finally coming out. The trailers and tv spots being shoved in my face were annoying.
Im just glad this is finally coming out. The trailers and tv spots being shoved in my face were annoying.
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11:11AM on 02/26/2015
Pass
Pass
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10:59AM on 02/26/2015
Looking forward to this film to see Will Smith's rebound and to see smoking hot Margot Robbie...
Looking forward to this film to see Will Smith's rebound and to see smoking hot Margot Robbie...
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10:52AM on 02/26/2015
Yep. Pretty much of what I expected - a vehicle for Margot Robbie and a rebound for Will Smith after After Earth wounds.
Yep. Pretty much of what I expected - a vehicle for Margot Robbie and a rebound for Will Smith after After Earth wounds.
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