Focus 2015 Movie

Will Smith Struggles to ‘Focus’

I walked out of the theater wanting my money back because I was not at all satisfied. What I saw on the screen was a confusing mess; with horrible character development and a terrible plot, it was unbearable to watch without wanting to throw my popcorn at the screen and wonder who produced this movie. 

Focus is mainly based around a con-artist named Nicky (Will Smith), who is tasked with recruiting con-artists like himself. They do things that are distasteful; they steal innocent people’s wallets from the back of their pants, they “accidently” knock women over to snatch their purses, steal money off of ATM cards and jewelry off of people. Nicky likes to describe it as “a game of focus.” The movie also includes a romantic love story between Nicky and Jess (Margot Robbie), who is a budding femme fatale. Jess meets Nicky when she tries to seduce him, but he is too smart to know what she is planning to do next: steal his wallet.  

Jess is now interested in Nicky and wants to learn from him, while he explores whether or not she is worthy of becoming part of their group. As she steals wallets, jewelry, purses and other expensive items off of drunken people, she proves to them that she is a good intern and is asked to be a part of their illegal schemes. 

During the Super Bowl, we find out that Nicky seems to have a betting problem; he starts to make little bets with Jess under the pretense of acting like a cute couple. A billionaire overhears and wants to make bets with big money. Nicky is losing until he tells Jess to pick a number of a football player’s jersey and she wins Nicky’s money back. Later on, Jess is surprised to find that the whole betting game was just part of one of Nicky’s dirty schemes. Deeming her unfit for this business, Nicky abandons Jess and leaves her there crying. 

It’s now three years later and Nicky is in Buenos Aires on a job helping Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro), a billionaire race car owner, with his scheme. Things get messy and jealousy strikes Nicky when he finds out that Garriga is dating Jess. This causes Nicky to take some foolish risks, but he doesn’t realize that Jess is an accomplished femme fatale and she is only playing with his heart. 

If Smith is trying to prove that he can be a tough action star like Bruce Willis, he didn’t succeed. I would much rather see him in a comedic action role where it seems he does his most brilliant work (Independence Day, Men in Black, etc.). I can’t blame it all on Smith, for the script was a piece of junk that just needs to be thrown in a dump somewhere in another galaxy. I’ll give Glenn Ficarra and John Requa the benefit of the doubt; maybe they just got lazy towards the end, for that’s where it shows the most. 

Robbie did not shine at all in the movie, and looked rather like a desperate girl trying to get her sugar daddy to give her everything she wants. Her chemistry with Smith was awkward and uncomfortable, and made me want to hide like a turtle in my shell. Her acting was that of a cliché teenage girl and not a sophisticated adult female as she was supposed to play. I wanted to see this fierce, tough femme fatale, but instead got a bubbly blonde flaunting herself. If you want to see this movie, be prepared; it’s as if there are too many signs flashing before you and you’re lost and confused. The only thing that can get you through the film is a bucket of popcorn and a large soda until the ride is over.