Movie Review: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Come Christmas time, or should I say Holiday time (for all the politically correct douchebags out there), Hollywood without question drops the old rags-to-riches, feel good movies into our laps. So it is no surprise that The Pursuit of Happyness shows up just in time for the gift exchange.
Even though most folks who know me (and many who don’t) call me a cynical asshole, and in a general sense I agree with them, I am still a sucker for these creampuff movies. Perhaps it is my own misgivings or inner demons that cause me to be transfixed by these melodramatic offerings. Or perhaps it is because I can always expect to see a roomful of girls with tears in their eyes – easing pickings for a predator. I prefer the latter explanation.
Now on to the movie – Will Smith plays Chris Gardner a man down on his luck (fucked up job, fucked up wife, etc), who decides he needs to make a life altering change to raise himself and his child above the chaos and poverty that is their current existence. To do this he decides to become a stock broker at one of the largest firms in the country – without knowing a damn thing about stocks or bonds. Quite a feat – and one that proves the axiom “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”. Why? Because, The Pursuit of Happyness is a true story.
But beyond the typical take a look in the mirror and decide if you like what you see plot, the movie offers insights into the homeless and society as whole. The underlying racism is used as a backdrop, but given enough light for the viewers to take notice of it. Ths movie also shows how truly fucked up things are, when a man and his 5 year old child have to sleep in a subway bathroom or on a bus. All the while people around them pay little to no attention to them and continue on with their own petty lives. Other movies have had similar themes, but it really strikes home when a small child is involved. Never, ever should a child be homeless.
And even though, I’m not the biggest fan of Will Smith, I must say, he carried the role well. The cockiness that he normally oozes out of his skin is nowhere to be found and I found myself actually feeling sorry for his character’s situation and applauding him for trying like hell to make something better. If only every man in the world had this mans’ convictions. A more pleasant surpise is the acting of Jaden Smith. Jaden portrays the son, and from what I can tell this is his first real acting experience. The sky is the limit with this kid, as he does an excellent job of capturing the hope and fear that this boy feels. As for the rest of the supporting cast – they do their job well enough, not really adding much, mostly ensuring they aren’t fucking anything up.
So it comes a shock to me, as much as to you, that I actually think this is an Oscar winner for Will Smith. The Pursuit of Happyness has all the needed elements in place to make this a reasonable guess. Great acting, good theme, well received – and the biggest reason – it’s all about a black guy. What more could you fucking want?
If The Pursuit of Happyness can’t get you off of your fat, sweaty ass, you’re hopeless. And do the rest of us a favor and shut the fuck up.