It's a bad year to be Will Smith.
The actor's summer blockbuster Suicide Squad was considered a chaotic mess by critics (though still became a box office hit) — and his year-end Oscar bait film Collateral Beauty is shaping up to be the WORST reviewed film of the year!
The reviews came out for the star-studded drama ahead of its Friday release, and most failed to see any beauty in the "horrifyingly yucky" tear-jerker — with critics claiming its cast (featuring Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, and Edward Norton) suffers from "actor abuse"!
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Smith plays a New York ad exec who grieves over the loss of his daughter by writing personal letters to death, time, and love in so he can forge a personal connection with the universe.
While that concept has potential to draw some real emotion, most critics felt a manipulated sentimentality brought by the talented cast acting their best (except Smith, that is) in a story void of any real emotion! Ouch!
Ch-ch-check out the scathing reviews for yourself (below) — and see Collateral Beauty (if you dare!) in theaters December 16!
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "This horrifyingly yucky, toxically cutesy ensemble dramedy creates a Chernobyl atmosphere of manipulative sentimentality, topped off with an ending which M. Night Shyamalan might reject as too ridiculous. This isn't Frank Capra. It is emotional literacy porn, like an aspirational self-help bestseller written by Keyser Söze. At the end of it, I screamed the way polar bears are supposed to when they get their tongues frozen to the ice."
Dan Callahan, The Wrap: "An all-star cast submits to flagrant actor abuse in Collateral Beauty, which is every bit as lame as its title. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, this is a movie where we watch Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley and several other fine players bore holes in themselves so that we can watch the sap run out."
June Dry, IndieWire: "It comes as no surprise that the best part about Collateral Beauty occurs when Dame Helen Mirren, playing an unknown actress (what range!), says: 'Maybe I should play all of the parts.' Maybe she should have. Sure, the script would be the same paint-by-numbers melodrama, but at least there might be a kernel of artistry to interpret in this self-satisfied tragedy. And it'd be more fun than watching Will Smith crying on a bike for two hours."
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: "A decade ago, in The Pursuit of Happyness, Smith proved he had the stuff to make a down-and-out character stingingly authentic, but in Collateral Beauty, when he gets all red-rimmed and teary, it feels like the actor's showcase it is, because the film's whole experience of suffering is engineered. Instead of using its metaphysical-deception plot as a conduit to genuine emotion, it just pushes the gimmickry further…"
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush: "I have seen Collateral Beauty, a movie in which a character delivers a five-minute monologue about the phrase "collateral beauty," and I still don't know what "collateral beauty" means. I think it has something to do with the good things that can come from a loved one's death? But I'm honestly not sure. And there's no way in hell I'm going to watch this thing a second time to figure it out."
Gregory Wakeman, CinemaBlend: "Collateral Beauty has its heart in the right place, but it's too chaotic, schmaltzy, and over-stuffed to ever develop a healthy beat. It also rings hollow for two separate reasons. For most of the film you feel like you're watching an hour-long trick that the magician just revealed the secret to, while right at the end you're left completely bamboozled by its turnaround that really just doesn't make sense. Which is all the more frustrating, because you know you're not going to give up another 96 minutes of your life to see this movie a second time, to prove whether or not it actually could make sense."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: "Even if it hadn't come along so soon after Manchester By the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan's symphonic drama about a father emotionally crippled by loss, Collateral Beauty would look like silly high-concept Hollywood grief porn. That's not to say David Frankel's all-star weepie doesn't work on its own manipulative terms, spreading its trail of goopy sentiment and inspirational homilies with technical finesse and some decent acting against the picturesque backdrop of New York City in the holidays. Audiences unconcerned about their sugar levels might eat it up."
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice: "[Smith is] really convincing as someone who doesn't want to be there. It's the kind of serious performance you sometimes see from Adam Sandler or Robin Williams when they mistake ‘seriousness' for giving us nothing."
[Image via Warner Bros..]
Tags: adam sandler, edward norton, film flickers, helen mirren, kate winslet, keira knightley, oscars, robin williams, sad sad, will smith