nothing to see here. Just keep raking. It's been quite the summer for super heroes-Iron Man, Hulk, and now Hancock, who comes in the form of a drunken lout of a super hero.
The premise is clever: a super hero with a drinking problem doesn't know who he is or where he comes from. Carrying a truckload of problems, he doesn't really enjoy saving people's lives. He just does it because either he can and/or he's the only one who can. He makes a sloppy exercise out of saving the day, chucking a beached whale out to sea only to hit a sailboat....skewering a car of bad guys on the Capitol Records building... you get the point. Hancock is pretty much despised for all the chaos he causes - the exception being Ray Embry (Jason Bateman), a PR exec that Hancock saves from getting pulverized by a train. In return, Ray befriends the hero and attempts a marketing strategy makeover. Ray brings Hancock home for counseling and to meet his wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), who is busy with her own life and doesn't approve.
Will Smith is a charismatic actor, bringing life to what would normally be a spoof-oriented role. He also plays a believable drunk with some genuine talent. With Theron, though, I wondered for the longest time why she was even in this movie, but she does manage to prove her worth. Bateman is an entertaining guy in a smarmy and witty kind of way, although fairly one-dimensional.
At one point Hancock, in order to dismiss a reputation for being above the law, goes to jail willingly. Knowing he could break out anytime provides moments of decent humor. Hancock, a homophobe and an alcoholic, has abandonment issues, but jail therapy does nothing for him. Another slapstick device is the gratuitous one-liner repetition that's a lot like what's found in the Terminator movies or what the Get Smart redux should've had.
The film's borderline cute moments thankfully dissipate quickly. And it had intermediate darkness that I would've liked to have seen explored more. Near the end, it gets a little dodgy as to which way it might go. A pause in the action leaves a gap to fill between a believable ending with serious reality coming into play, or opting for a nice superhero ending complete with sequel... let's just say the one I was rooting for didn't win.
All in all it could've been a lot worse. This film had decent potential, but plummets after the initial novelty wears off.
Starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman.
Director: Peter Berg. Rated PG-13