In this follow-up come "The quest of Happyness," will Smith offers the biggest gift of all. If only we might send that back.

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Overflowing through the milk of human kindness this vacation season? Why not offer away component of her liver! and who ever said you yes, really needed every one of both lungs? ~ all, us were born v a spare! if you"re at it, there"s a blind male in Dubuque named Sidney Schmitz who could really use your eyes. If everyone deserves your discarded eyeballs, it"s Sid, a real stand-up guy. And you don"t want to provide your eyes to a full asshole, perform you?

In "Seven Pounds," will Smith theatre a tormented soul named Ben Thomas, and his body is the gift that keeps ~ above giving, even from beyond the grave. As holiday heartwarmers go, "Seven Pounds" is so unintentionally ghoulish, it makes "Black Christmas" look prefer "It"s a wonderful Life." Ben, who harbors a damaging secret, feels he requirements to give something back to mankind -- yet we don"t originally know that. "Seven Pounds" is structured prefer a mystery, in i m sorry the motives of the hero space murky at an initial and then emerge with each new plot revelation, a structure that could work if the movie weren"t so unsavory and also off-putting from the start. In the movie"s opening scene, he rings 911 come report a suicide; the operator asks him that the victim is. "C"est moi!" he says, except in English. In the following scene, he provides a harassing phone contact to a remote guy, play by Woody Harrelson (who gives a much far better performance than his function warrants).

Within the movie"s first 20 minutes, it becomes clear the Ben is auditioning candidates -- however for what? It appears he wants to make sure these candidates space really nice people, deserving of everything largess he has the power to bestow top top them. Maybe he"s to run his very own version of the Publisher"s Clearing residence Sweepstakes? however unlike Ed McMahon, he"s not going to present up at just anyone"s house with that big fat check.

As ns think much more about the plot, I have the right to barely believe I"m not making the up. In fact, ns wish i were making that up. Yet "Seven Pounds" -- i beg your pardon was created by provide Nierporte and directed by Gabriele Muccino -- is all too real. Muccino directed blacksmith in "The pursuit of Happyness," a deep affecting photo (based on a true story) around a male who can"t make enough money to store a roof end his head and also that of his child, however who, after just squeaking into a stockbroker-training program, is may be to revolve his life around. The snapshot conveyed just how easy it is come hit a few bad breaks and also suddenly find yourself living close come the edge, even in the so-called floor of opportunity. And also Smith"s performance was piercing partly due to the fact that he"s merely so winning as a performer: If the many likable man on earth can almost slip turn off the edge of it, then the rest of us had much better be wary. (I"m wondering just how "The search of Happyness," make in 2006 and collection in the 1980s, would look now, offered the terrifying state of our economy, but I"m not certain I can lug myself to watch it.)

Maybe Muccino and Smith thought they might repeat magic v this stinker. And also the strange thing is the "Seven Pounds" isn"t precisely badly made. Muccino isn"t a clumsy filmmaker: the adds graceful touch here and also there, choose the method he reflects Harrelson, a pianist, play in a coffee shop one moment and sitting alone, having a cup the coffee, feebly attempting come flirt v a pretty waitress the next. Muccino makes a nice visual contrast between the man"s confidence together a performer and also the loneliness and uncertainty the feels as soon as he"s simply being himself.

But as whole "Seven Pounds" is as well heavy-handed and also maudlin to it is in comprehensible, let alone moving. The actual shocker is the not even Smith can rescue it. Smith has actually been offering consistently appealing, if not outright terrific, performances in movies for years now; even if he seemed a tiny lost in the strange-but-interesting "Hancock," the somehow kept it from fully wobbling turn off its axis.

But in "Seven Pounds," countless of Smith"s selections are incomprehensible: occasionally Ben squints and also stammers for reasons that space unclear. Has actually he just given up too lot of himself? Is his mind failing as result of loss of blood? In "Seven Pounds," blacksmith is much more confused than he is charming. He rallies just in his scenes with Rosario Dawson, who"s saddled through the many thankless role in the universe: that of "Girl through Heart Condition." This personality does have actually a name (it"s Emily), and as Dawson dram her, she"s a genuinely believable, low-key presence. In fact, Dawson"s performance acquired me v "Seven Pounds." Possibly, there"s a grand, practically operatic, romantic idea buried somewhere in this story. Yet "Seven Pounds" is also grim and self-serious to make that angle occupational properly. Dawson is the only miracle worker here; she increase from this chaos untainted through its creepiness, and also every moment she"s on-screen, she at least provides us something come watch. By the moment I gained to the end of "Seven Pounds," ns felt ns owed her my life. Or at least part of my liver.

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Stephanie Zacharek

Stephanie Zacharek is a an elderly writer for Arts & Entertainment.