Will Smith and Rosario Dawson get hot ’n’ heavy in Seven Pounds.
SEVEN POUNDS directed by Gabriele Muccino, written by Grant Nieporte, with Will Smith, Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson. 118 minutes. A Sony Release. Opens Friday (December 19). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Will Smith + soulful story = one-hankie
I love this time of year. I have to wear a scarf, and that really works for me at the movies. That's because I always cry at trailers and need something to towel myself down with.
You see, I love a weepie every once in a while, and every holiday season should have one. It shouldn't be too much of a downer (I don't like being manipulated), but it should have just enough emotional pull to force me to deploy my neckwear. The soulful Seven Pounds qualifies.
Give Will Smith some credit. He's not just coasting on his charm or his action resumé and obviously wants to do some serious work. That explains the mawkish The Pursuit Of Happyness and this year's Seven Pounds, which, thankfully, is much better.
Smith plays IRS agent Ben Thomas, who's looking to change the lives of a few lucky souls who've had the misfortune to fall behind in their taxes. They just need to prove to him that they're good people.
Along the way, he starts falling in love with Emily (Rosario Dawson), one of those chosen few, and he's hopelessly conflicted about it.
As the movie unfolds, it becomes clear that this has to do with more than just professional boundaries.
The film's puzzle factor is its major weakness. There are hints of this, flashbacks about that, all with a grainy quality meant to lend them an arty touch.
Not necessary. Seven Pounds works best when Ben's with his potential beneficiaries. It really rocks when his and Emily's relationship turns romantic. From the first scene, we know that Ben's personal entanglements might be problematic, so it's easy to get involved without all of the teasing quick-cut intrusive stuff that just messes with what is actually a moving narrative. Sometimes a story should just be a story.
But Smith is very good, and Dawson's got a ton of emotional depth. Best part? It's not a five-hankie weepie. Just one will do.
This inspirational drama has been shut out of most awards, but never underestimate box-office king Will Smith's appeal with voters. He's a long shot for a best actor nod.