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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.65%
Worth A Look: 18.6%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy46.51%
Sucks: 30.23%

4 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Seven Pounds
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by brianorndorf

"I, for one, welcome our new jellyfish overlords"
2 stars

The tears flow like a raging river in “Seven Pounds,” the latest Oscar-baiting step from Will Smith to solidify himself as an actor for all seasons. A murky stab at articulating emotional paralysis, “Pounds” plays dirty, selecting a path of confusion to unfurl its ache, resulting in a near absence of psychological or emotional connection the movie is absolutely desperate to conjure.

A traumatic event has shaken Ben Thomas (Will Smith) to his core, leaving him fixated on the trauma of several strangers (including Woody Harrelson and Bill Smitrovich) in ways that are not immediately clear. Using I.R.S. credentials to infiltrate their lives, Ben is searching for any sign of goodness to soothe his tattered soul, finding unique chemistry with Emily (Rosario Dawson), a young woman suffering from a heart condition that offers little in the way of hope. Engaging Emily further than anyone else on his list, Ben unearths a faint sense of optimism to his miserable life, making him reconsider his ultimate plan of atonement.

“Seven Pounds” is many things, but the one quality that comes across as entirely unexpected is how much of a mystery the feature is. Director Gabriele Muccino (reteaming with Smith after their 2006 smash “The Pursuit of Happyness”) and screenwriter Grant Nieporte are extremely protective of Ben’s expedition of healing, using time changes and assorted masked qualities to make sure the audience has no idea what the character is ultimately hoping to attain. I’ll give the production this, “Pounds” is not an easy film to predict, but this relentless ambiguity erodes the effectiveness of the overall experience, turning Ben’s enigmatic misery into head-slapping filmgoing frustration.

To best appreciate “Pounds” requires either hours of reflection after viewing or a second trip to the multiplex, and I’m not convinced the film is worth such dedication. The quandary is simple to indentify: to fully value Ben’s journey requires knowledge of its conclusion, otherwise “Pounds” is a just a series of detached sentiment without a hub to study for maximum investment. Muccino doesn’t layer in the critical narrative clues to satisfaction during the feature, electing to use Smith’s perpetually glassy-eyed performance (he looks more constipated than tortured throughout the film) as the barometer of the movie. The distance can be aggravating, especially when so much of the picture is reliant on information the audience doesn’t have yet. Sure, all the crying introduces an air of vulnerability that’s difficult to discount in full, but it begins to read as manipulation after the first hour, with the production playing their cards too close to the chest just to build toward a finale meant to shatter minds, but will most likely result in feigned sniffles and question marks.

It’s difficult to paint an accurate portrait of “Seven Pounds” without giving too much away, but the end certainly doesn’t justify the protracted means. If it wasn’t for Dawson’s tender performance elevating Smith’s game, “Seven Pounds” would be just another useless tear-jerker, wishing to speak profoundly on the misery of human existence, but failing to encourage the audience to appreciate the experience.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17102&reviewer=404
originally posted: 12/19/08 16:12:43
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User Comments

4/15/18 Joe Smaltz Gave up after an hr. Tired of waiting for a plot. 1 stars
7/28/11 Joel Fox Excellent fim. 5 stars
1/20/10 Stanley Thai A pretentious thriller where Will Smith plays an unsympathetic character. 2 stars
11/21/09 mr.mike Well worth seeeing - on cable. 4 stars
6/28/09 Joe Smaltz Good cinamatography, directing, acting, editing. Horseshit story, backasswards! 2 stars
4/27/09 Lana Good writing, very good photography, excellent acting; a good movie and worth seeing! 4 stars
1/29/09 Bert Kaplan a downright dud. 2 stars
1/28/09 Lucas Jack Somersby needs to watch this movie again since ihe did not understand most of themovie 5 stars
12/30/08 Luisa Great acting from Will Smith. Good story. 4 stars
12/30/08 sweetgrrl1972 One of the most tense and depressing movies of all time 2 stars
12/28/08 Samantha Pruitt why ids everyone hating on this movie? Smith and Dawson are great. 4 stars
12/26/08 Yolanda I liked the movie. Smith and Dawson were great! 4 stars
12/23/08 Eric I disagree - my two friends and I figured this movie out in first 15 mins. Made it more sad 4 stars
12/22/08 Kork Klogz Wow, what a stunning performance by Rosario Dawson. Luv'd her, hated the movie! 4 stars
12/21/08 jackson elles pretentious, confusing, and frustrating 2 stars
12/20/08 michele Rosario Dawson steals the show,worth watching just to see her on film,the carmera loves her 4 stars
12/19/08 Syl Mac The movie was an hour and 50 mins tooo long! It was very predictable and tooo slow. 2 stars
12/19/08 Gary It was very depressing 2 stars
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  19-Dec-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 31-Mar-2009


  DVD: 31-Mar-2009

Directed by
  Gabriele Muccino

Written by
  Grant Nieporte

  Will Smith
  Rosario Dawson
  Woody Harrelson

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