‘Focus’ Movie Review – Starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie

Focus Movie Review Starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie
WILL SMITH stars as Nicky and MARGOT ROBBIE as Jess in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “FOCUS.” Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. (Photo © 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment)

It’s best not to focus on Focus’ trailers before watching this slick crime comedy. The heist film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie was done a disservice by whoever cut together the clips featured in the first trailers for the Warner Bros. Pictures release. Focus is actually far more entertaining than the trailers make it appear, and the chemistry between Smith and Robbie – something that doesn’t come across at all in the trailers – is what makes this con man (and woman) caper work.

Focus comes from the directing team behind Crazy, Stupid, Love, one of the best comedies of 2011. And although Focus isn’t on par with that smartly written rom-com, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s latest project is slick and, more often than not, engaging.

Focus follows Will Smith as Nicky, a con artist whose sleight-of-hand moves are only rivaled in slickness by his ability to verbally manipulate his way into separating his mark from his or her money. Nicky’s got a good thing going with a crew of like-minded thieves, scoring big wherever high rollers gather and living the good life in between looking for his next huge payday. But his ordered life is thrown for a loop with the appearance of Jess (Robbie), a gorgeous con artist who has impressive pick pocket skills. Jess and Nicky hit it off and because she’s so adept at lifting items from unsuspecting marks, Nicky invites her to join the team as they work one of the year’s most profitable events: the Super Bowl. Outside of connecting over the mutual proficiency as con artists, the two connect romantically – despite their age differences (Smith is 46, Robbie is 24). Unfortunately, being in a committed relationship isn’t in Nicky’s plans and he breaks it off with Jess who’s heartbroken over being tossed aside at the completion of their Super Bowl heist.

Flash-forward a few years and Nicky and Jess have an improbable reunion when Nicky signs up to pull off a scam involving Formula One racers in Buenos Aires, and Nicky just happens to also be there working her own scam.

The Bottom Line:

What makes Focus worth a look is the chemistry between leads Will Smith and Margot Robbie. The story itself is nothing special, and in fact the final hour of the movie takes a ridiculous turn. However, Smith and Robbie do some slight of hand work on their own, transforming an otherwise forgettable film into something that keeps you involved to the end.

Focus is definitely a case of style over substance and no scene better illustrates why that is than an incredible sequence in which Smith, Robbie, and the gang work the streets, picking pockets, swiping jewelry, credit cards, and other valuables. The scene resembles a dance in the way it’s choreographed, with the team constantly waltzing forward as they lift items from unsuspecting victims.

Pay too much attention to the story and you’ll notice Focus losing its focus. But for all of its twists and turns, for all of its heist setups, the fact Focus is actually a fun romantic romp sneaks up on you and turns out to be a pleasant surprise.


MPAA rating: R for language, some sexual content and brief violence

Running time: 105 minutes

Release date: February 27, 2015

-By Rebecca Murray

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