Focus posterFocus is a weak heist movie. But it benefits from sharing an opening weekend with the likes of The Lazarus Effect, because the latter makes the former look like Oscar-worthy material. Focus stars Will Smith as Nicky, a seasoned con artist who teaches a novice con artist named (Margot Robbie) the tricks of the trade. The two become entangled romantically, but then Nicky abruptly ditches her. Fast forward three years and they meet again when he is called upon to pull some master con at a high-stakes car race, and she is dating one of the drivers.

The story becomes very convoluted as Nicky and Jess appear either destined to be together – or destined to pull the ultimate con on each other and those around them. The casting is odd for this one. There’s nothing wrong with Robbie’s performance, but she doesn’t have the star power or chemistry to emerge from Smith’s shadow on the big screen. And Smith seems to waver between glimpses of the Will Smith of old (who actually is starting to look older here) and the Smith who looks like he’s just phoning it in. Too bad he won’t be in Independence Day 2. The first one ranks high on my list of all-time favorites.

Focus is fine for a rental or airplane time-suck. There’s really no need to see it in the theater. There are too many better movies still out there from awards season that deserve your attention first. Peruse the Chickflix reviews and pick one!

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