Who’s In It: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, Woody Harrelson
The Basics: Will Smith is an IRS agent with some super-serious secrets that only he and his best friend Barry Pepper know about. And those secrets involve hunting down strangers and transforming their lives. First, though, he has to “audit” them to see if they’re worthy of receiving his special gifts. Then they get their transformation whether they like it or not. But okay, yes, they all like it. In a way, he’s what would happen if the moralizing maniac guy from Saw turned into Oprah.
What’s The Deal: What’s funny about this movie is how everything is so highly qualified. It takes place in what appears to be real life but it’s actually a hermetically sealed environment (much like the one big movie stars seem to live in) where no one is allowed to ever question why Will Smith’s character is doing what he’s doing and everyone just accepts his cryptic answers to questions and evasive, spooky gifting style. Furthermore, the giftees seemingly have no one else in their life to bounce all this stuff off of, because then there’d be conversations like, “So this guy is sort of stalking me and telling me he’s going to ‘drastically alter my circumstances.’ Should I invite him over for dinner?”
Why, Even Though It’s Irredeemably Ridiculous, You’ll Enjoy Yourself Anyway: Well, I had a good time piecing together the “mystery” (even though you don’t have to because eventually the movie explains itself without you needing to lift one mental finger) and the ending becomes a frenzy of wacky scenarios and reveals that totally destroy whatever make-you-cry momentum it thought it had going for it. And I like it when that sort of thing goes off the rails.
MVP Award For: Rosario Dawson as a dying cardiac patient chosen by Smith. And I've decided she doesn’t have one fakey bone in her body. I don’t even know how much she’s “acting” she’s doing because she always seems to be the same cool person you want to hang out with in movie after movie, even when her character is on death’s door. Like in that piece of crap Rent? She kept me from walking out.
After This And The Day The Earth Stood Still, Who You Come To Realize Is The Acting Powerhouse of The Smith/Pinkett Family: Jada.