Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures (1 hr. 45 min.)
Plot: A con man takes on an inexperienced apprentice.
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Adrian Martinez
Bottom Line: **
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
Hollywood’s favorite movie star is far too affable and charming to be a con artist, but in his latest role Will Smith plays just that. In ‘Focus” the new Warner Bros. film, Smith stars as a seasoned con artist who becomes romantically involved with another grifter.
A romantic heist thriller, which jets from New York to New Orleans to one of South America’s most exquisite cities, Buenos Aires, it’s written and directed by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”).
In this predictable but pleasant film, Smith plays Nicky (aka Mellow), a suave, stylishly clad gentleman who is clearly one of the best in his business. A third-generation hustler, he runs a tight team of talented thieves — a motley crew of characters who can pick pocket just about anything from anyone without their knowledge. A well-oiled machine, they steal watches, jewels, electronics and anything they can off unsuspecting individuals. One day he meets a fellow con artist called Jess (Margot Robbie). As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame—now an accomplished femme fatale—shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of his million dollar con deal and throws his plans for a loop as he realizes that, not only has he never really gotten over her, but that she has clearly moved on. She is now romantically involved with the very man that he is getting into business with – the millionaire Spanish racecar team owner Rafael Garríga (Rodrigo Santoro).
Smith sizzles as the leading man in his stylish suits and coiffed look. Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) is also a delight to watch as the inexperienced, sort of a diamond-in-the-rough robber who is introduced to new things and there’s great chemistry between the two. But alas, pretty people, jet-setting locales and a lively dialogue isn’t enough to keep ones focus on this thinly veiled heist caper. It’s just simply too predictable and implausible with certain inconsistent scenes and events which lack credibility. There’s enough to entertain but little to engage in this one.
This was printed in the March 22, 2015 - April 4, 2015 edition.