Focus Review
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A couple of decades ago, Will Smith was a major box office draw, with each new release guaranteed to bring audiences out in droves. In recent years, however, his star power seems to have taken a hit, thanks to movies like Peter Berg’s Hancock and M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth. But the charming star appears to be poised and ready to steal back the spotlight in his rom-com caper, Focus.

In Focus, Smith stars as Nicky, a third-generation con man with a gift for turning small-time cons into big-time cash. When he agrees to tutor hopeful young con artist Jess (Margot Robbie), he finds himself falling for her—so, fearing that his feelings for her will get in the way of his work, he walks away.

A few years later, Nicky is working on a big new job when Jess shows up on the arm of his employer—and seeing her again sends his plans spiraling out of control.

It may not be as big or as flashy as blockbusters like Independence Day or Men in Black, but Focus still has the familiar feel of some of your favorite Will Smith adventures. It’s slick and fun, with an easy-going sense of humor that keeps everything light and entertaining—never making the mistake of taking itself or its characters too seriously. And the swift pace and fluid choreography of the cons provide an appropriately dizzying backdrop for a twisting, turning story.

Of course, it’s no big surprise that Smith is as charming as ever as Nicky—a lovable scamp who will steal viewers’ hearts as he steals watches and wallets. There’s just something so undeniably endearing about both the star and his character that you’ll happily overlook every transgression, appreciating the artistry behind each clever new con.

The only thing that manages to lessen the film’s entertainment value, then, is the ongoing relationship drama. Jess seems to turn Nicky into a lovesick puppy—and while the distraction gives the story its tension and suspense, it’s laid on just a little too thick. The moodiness and jealousy simply don’t suit the suave, stylish star—and it’s hard to imagine that one beautiful woman could throw such a seasoned professional so far off his game. But, then again, you might be too busy trying to figure out who’s playing whom to pay much attention to the overplayed drama.

It may not be a brilliant heist movie—and the relationship drama sometimes gets in the way of the fun—but Focus is yet another entertaining film from a lovable star. If you enjoy the skillful sleight of hand of a good magic trick, you’re sure to enjoy each surprising stunt in this fun-filled caper.

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