Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Hancock Isn't Signature Smith

Plus, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is Certified Fresh.

by | July 1, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got moody superheroes (Hancock, starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron), and cub reporters (Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, starring Abigail Breslin and Julia Ormond). What do the critics have to say?

It seems like a can’t-miss prospect: a moody, conflicted superhero, unloved by the public despite his best efforts, played by Will Smith, aka Mr. Independence Day. However, great ideas are a dime a dozen, and critics say Hancock never fully takes flight. An attempt at a subversive take on caped crusader mythos, Smith has super-strength and a drinking problem; however, he learns to show a softer side after saving the life of a public relations expert. The pundits say Smith is solid as always, but the film quickly abandons its clever premise in favor of typical action sequences. Additionally, its shifts in tone — from wry comedy to sentiment — don’t quite cohere. At 35 percent on the Tomatometer, Hancock is not one of Smith’s signature films.


With the Fourth of July on the horizon, it seems like an apt time to celebrate the can-do, go-get-’em American spirit. With that in mind, critics say you could do a lot worse than Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, an old-school, family-friendly charmer. Abigail Breslin stars as the title character, a sharp, kind, inquisitive pre-teen whose journalistic aspirations come in handy: she attempts to solve a mystery and, in the process, save her family’s house and exonerate some falsely-accused fellow citizens. The pundits say Kit is a gentle, heartfelt tale that’s both a delivery system for wholesome messages and a surprisingly moving drama. At 79 percent on the Tomatometer, the Certified Fresh Kit Kittredge has Girl power to spare.

“From now on, we trust no one but the Newsies.”

Also opening this week in limited release:

The surreal black comedy Kabluey, starring Lisa Kudrow and Scott Prendergast (who also directs), is at 100 percent.

The French thriller Tell No One, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Francois Cluzet, is at 93 percent.

Gonzo: the Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Alex Gibney‘s documentary portrait of the iconic gonzo journalist, is at 86 percent.

The Wackness, the coming-of-age story of a drug dealer in mid-1990s New York, starring Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, and Josh Peck, is at 70 percent.

Diminished Capacity, a bittersweet comedy about a newspaperman recovering from a concussion starring Matthew Broderick and Virginia Madsen, is at 17 percent.

“You weren’t a millionaire until you were 40? I was eight!”

Recent Will Smith Movies:
69% — I am Legend (2007)
66% — The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
69% — Hitch (2005)
34% — Shark Tale (2004)
58% — I, Robot (2004)

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