Will Smith Month #1: I, Robot & Hitch

I, Robot:

Sci-fi action is the genre that made Will Smith a superstar in the 90s and that is why a film like I, Robot comes with very high expectations. It tells the story of a dystopian future where highly intelligent Robots do most of the work for humanity. Smith plays a Chicago police detective who grows increasingly suspicious of the robots as he feels that they are beginning to develop capabilities of their own and thus beginning to disobey their makers i.e. human beings. He must find out what is corrupting the robots and destroy the root cause. But how?

Smith is ably supported here by Bridget Moynahan, James Cromwell and Bruce Greenwood. If you have a closer look, you can also locate a very young Shia Lebouf before his stardom. But what makes I, Robot an exciting project is its director, Alex Proyas and also the source material, the short story by Sci-Fi giant Isaac Asimov. But this is exactly what also weights the film down.

Proyas is known for his small budget cult Sci-Fi films such as Crow and Dark City. In this film, he gets a much higher budget and a huge star. As a result he is also forced to compromise with his individual style so as to make the film audience friendly. If you are a fan of both Proyas and Asimov, you will be disappointed because complex and darker themes of the original story has been toned down in order to appeal to a larger audience. However, cutting edge visual effects and Smith’s performance delivers the usual blockbuster Hollywood actioner that satisfies the basic expectations of its target audience.

Hitch:

Hitch is a simple romantic comedy where Will Smith plays the role of a “date doctor”. Basically he is suave and smart and so he helps other men who are less assured of themselves. He gets too involved with one of his clients while helping him woo a very attractive woman. But it gets interesting when he himself gets smitten by a different woman but fails to impress her with his usual tricks. Now, how do they get their act together and win over their respective women?
Hitch is a typical Hollywood romantic comedy that just manages to get its job done. This is probably the best known film of director Andy Tennant along with Sweet Home Alabama. So, expectations are not very high and the film seems completely reliant on Smith at the start. But as the film progresses, we see a gradually developing chemistry between him and the other guy played by Kevin James. In fact their chemistry is stronger than the ones with their respective ladies played by Eva Mendes and Amber Valletta. So, their interactions, struggles and confrontations lead to many bittersweet moments and a few good laughs that make the film worth a watch. It does not deliver anything new and the plot is completely predictable but heartwarming performances by the lead actors makes sure that there are no dull moments till the end. If you are looking for a message at all, just consider it as a reassurance that even a non-hunk can win over a highly attractive women if he just plays the cards right.

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