Will Smith brings his usual charm to a fairly dark role in this tongue-in-cheek adventure thriller about a superhero named John Hancock who's fed up with the gig. He's bored, lonely, and socially inept. When we first see him in action, he picks up a car full of thugs who are fleeing a robbery and, after smashing them against several LA skyscrapers and threatening to drop them from several hundred feet, impales the car on spire atop a convenient building. Did I mention he was drunk and toting a very large bottle of whiskey? As you'd expect, the citizens are in an uproar, and the city has indicted him regardless of the futility of trying to arrest - much less confine - a super-being.
Enter our true hero, Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a shlub of a public relations guru whose just lost his job. But he has a beautiful and understanding wife, named Mary (Charlize Theron) and a cute little boy named Aaron. When he sees Hancock's latest misadventure on TV, Ray sees it as an opportunity. He convinces Hancock to turn himself in and serve his time in jail in order to restore his image as a defender of truth, justice, and the American Way and to generally turn his life around. Mary seems to think Hancock is a jerk, but Aaron adores him. Hancock does try to do the jail thing, but it's tough to relate to the other prisoners in his therapy sessions when you don't have any social skills and nobody else is an alcoholic superhero.
The plot twist arrives at the end, and while it surprised me, it didn't help lift this plodding script off the ground or lead to a satisfying ending. Overall, Hancock is a fun little movie, but we expect better from Will Smith, Jason Bateman, and Charlize Theron. Worth a rental on a cold evening, but make sure you have another movie to round things out.
Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our February, 2009 issue.
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