There’s a lot of layers to the latest offering from Will Smith, who starts the long road back from cinematic wasteland with the romantic drama-comedy heist film, “Focus,” co-starring “Wolf of Wall Street” starlet Margot Robbie.
There’s the con, led by Smith as the consummate con artist, practiced in deceit.
There’s the romance, with Robbie slithering her way into Smith’s gang and into his heart.
There’s the comedy, led by some witty one-liners from Smith and hilarious supporting performances from Adrian Martinez as Smith’s running buddy Farhad and “Law and Order: SVU” alum B.D. Wong in a scene-stealing performance as a billionaire gambler willing to throw down the big bucks.
There’s some drama, too, but of the four genres melded into “Focus,” the drama doesn’t really hit home due mainly to a lack of real chemistry between Smith and Robbie.
Hollywood would be well served to develop more quality heist films, because it’s in those moments where “Focus” — under the guide of “Crazy, Stupid, Love” directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra — shines the brightest. When the film is about the con and in service to the con, “Focus” keeps viewers coming back for more.
It’s in those moments in between — where the witty banter is exchanged for longing — that things just don’t stick fully.
After several lackluster outings, “Focus” seems to be a step in the right direction for Smith, who’s gradually finding himself in the latter stages of his career. He hasn’t made it back to “Ali” territory yet, but it’s by no means time to put the final nail in the coffin, either.
“Focus” is ideal date night fodder for movie-going couples, with half the film aimed at guys seeking adventure and the other half for girls needing a new romantic comedy.
There’s just enough of both there to make a trip to the theaters worth your time.