Once upon a time Will Smith was a Hollywood "untouchable". And then the former king of summer fizzled out, leaving a four-year gap in between 2008 and 2012 where he disappeared from the spotlight altogether. Even since his return to the big screen, audiences having been clamoring for a fresh start from the same megastar they used to know and love. Well now, in co-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's new con-man drama, Focus, we're given glimpses of the Will Smith of old.
Nicky (Smith) is a veteran con-man born into the business by his father and grandfather at a very young age. And after taking a beautiful young amateur con-artist named Jess (The Wolf of Wall Street's Margot Robbie) under his tutelage, they become romantically involved. Yet, Nicky's deceptive lifestyle as a liar by trade makes falling in love a bit of a messy situation.
Ficarra and Requa are a superb writing and filmmaking tandem that rely heavily on the "twist" in their work. As their third collaborative feature, Focus takes bits and pieces from their first two efforts, Crazy, Stupid, Love and I Love You Philip Morris, by molding together a solid love story with clever caper-movie elements. The result is an entertaining and fairly unpredictable tale that makes for a gratifying ride. Probably the weakest of all their works, Focus still manages to hold the viewer's attention with frequent humor and periodic twists to keep you on your toes.