NPR logo

Up In The Air: It's 'Hancock,' Crashing And Burning

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92108945/92126573" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Up In The Air: It's 'Hancock,' Crashing And Burning

Movies

Up In The Air: It's 'Hancock,' Crashing And Burning

Up In The Air: It's 'Hancock,' Crashing And Burning

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92108945/92126573" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Superzero: L.A.'s citizens don't need another hero like Will Smith's Hancock. Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures hide caption

toggle caption
Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures

Superzero: L.A.'s citizens don't need another hero like Will Smith's Hancock.

Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures

Hancock

  • Director: Peter Berg
  • Genre: Action
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

Rated PG-13: Will Smith throws heavy objects, takes a few bullets and swears like a longshoreman.

Constructive criticism: When he saves a PR exec from a train wreck, Hancock gets an image makeover. Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures hide caption

toggle caption
Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures

Constructive criticism: When he saves a PR exec from a train wreck, Hancock gets an image makeover.

Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures

'I'm Real Good At Down'

'Move It'

'This Stuff Was On YouTube'

Where is it written that superheros have to be selfless?

What would happen if an individual with supernatural powers was surly, self-absorbed, acid-tongued?

Hancock asks those smart questions, but ends up with dumb and dumber answers.

Hancock — played by box-office superhero Will Smith — has all of Superman's talents.

But he's often drunk and/or hung over when the call to action comes, so he causes as much trouble as he prevents. This is the guy the words "collateral damage" were invented for.

Things might have gone on like that forever for Hancock — after all, who knows how long a superhero's liver can hold out? — if he hadn't one day saved the life of a public-relations man who wants to change his image. Soon, our hero is acting like the soul of politeness.

But then, just about without warning, Hancock takes a completely unexpected and head-shaking plot turn that derails the film in a way that it never recovers from.

The creators of Hancock truly had a tiger by the tail with their primary idea. But once they let go, the beast turned around and swallowed them whole.

It's a strange feeling to see the summer's most promising premise self-destruct into something bizarre and unsatisfying, but that is the Hancock experience.

It has to be emphasized that though the film's trailers carefully hide it, Hancock has a blisteringly profane tongue. How diatribes that would make a stevedore blush got a PG-13 rating is a question for another day.