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"Pursuit of Happyness"


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Here's a negative review, but these guys hate most everything.


Finally. This is good because most of the arguments levied here against the movie are shallow and contrived. If that's the best they can do, this movie really is going to be good. I just wanted to hear some of the arguments against it.

Yeah it could be overdone..but his arguments are terrible..he actually gave Van Wilder 2: the rise of taj a abetter rating :nhawong:

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Starz Invites You to Pursue 'Happyness' With a Night of Will Smith on Thursday, Dec. 14

Thursday December 7, 2:44 pm ET

A 'Stars on Starz' Showcase of Smith's Films Also Features an Exclusive Clip and Behind-the-Scenes Look at His Latest Project The Pursuit of Happyness

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Join Starz for a "Stars on Starz" showcase of Will Smith films Thursday, Dec. 14 in celebration of the theatrical release of his upcoming father-son drama The Pursuit of Happyness, in theaters starting Dec. 15. The night begins with "On the Set: The Pursuit of Happyness" at 8:45 p.m. (ET/PT), followed by Hitch at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) and Enemy of the State at 11 p.m. (ET/PT). An exclusive clip from The Pursuit of Happyness will also premiere during the night.

"On the Set: The Pursuit of Happyness" provides viewers with a unique behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie featuring interviews with the cast and crew.

Columbia Pictures' The Pursuit of Happyness stars Smith as Chris Gardner, a bright and talented but marginally employed salesman. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner finds himself and his five-year-old son evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go. When Gardner lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships, including living in shelters, in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them. Directed by Gabriele Muccino. T he Pursuit of Happyness co-stars Thandie Newton and Jaden Christopher Syre Smith.

source: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/061207/lath077.html?.v=79

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"The Pursuit of Happyness" certainly is a decent, well-intended film about a father's responsibility to his son and his struggles with homelessness. It features a sensitive performance by Will Smith as a character, based on a real man, who overcame staggering obstacles to claim his stake of the American dream. Were this an indie film with a gritty edge and a fresh take on being down-and-out in the richest country in the world, "Pursuit" would stand a good chance of winning an award at next month's Sundance Film Festival.

Instead, this is a slick studio production with a huge movie star and top professionals occupying every production role so that the polish of this well-made film makes even homelessness look neat and tidy. Then inserting nonsensical chases and suspense sequences into the story betrays its Hollywood heritage.

Smith's performance will win accolades from critics, and Sony certainly can sell this as a feel-good holiday film. So "Pursuit" may well claim boxoffice happiness. A lot depends on Smith's marquee clout.

The story takes place in early 1980s San Francisco, when the trickle-down economic theory was all the rage. Smith's Chris Gardner is running hard just to keep in place. An investment in a bone-scanning machine, which he then discovers the medical profession isn't terribly interested in buying from him, has left his family nearly broke. The Gardners are two months behind on rent, the car has been towed for unpaid parking tickets, and the IRS wants back taxes. His bitter, frustrated wife Linda (Thandie Newton in a thankless role) must work double shifts to pay bills.

In a sequence that begs for more explanation, Linda quits the family and moves to New York in search of a job, leaving her 5-year-old son with his penniless dad. It's safe to say Linda is not bucking for Mother of the Year. Through guile and determination, Chris lands an internship with a stock brokerage firm. But he will receive no pay until he lands a broker's job for which he must compete with 20-odd fellow interns.

Within a week, he and his son Christopher (Smith's real-life son Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) get evicted. They move to a motel as Smith continues to sell his stockpile of bone scanners. But the IRS attaches his bank account, so the two find themselves on the street, sleeping in shelters, subway cars and, for one night, a public toilet.

Screenwriter Steven Conrad and director Gabriele Muccino do a fine job of moving between two worlds that scarcely recognize each other -- the street where risk, loss and gain are matters of survival and Wall Street where those same possibilities drive the Darwinian competition. At times the film wants to manufacture melodrama, such as chases after people who steal Chris' bone scanner or his parking a partner's car when he has only minutes to land a major account. They feel like intrusions in the real story.

Muccino is an Italian director ("The Last Kiss") making his English-language debut, but you look in vain for evidence of a fresh eye on American society. The period details in J. Michael Riva's production design are solid, but any number of fair-to-middling Hollywood directors could have made this film. Phedon Papamichael's cinematography is refreshingly straightforward, but Andrea Guerra's music edges into sentimentality.

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A true story told in a deeply heartwarming style: there's never any doubt where this film is going. But while it's genuinely inspirational, the script trivialises it by focussing on all the wrong things.

In 1970s San Francisco, Chris Gardener (Will Smith) is struggling to make ends meet, selling medical equipment door-to-door. His fed-up wife (Newton) finally decides to leave, but Chris won't let her take their 5-year-old son Christopher (Jaden, son of Will). When Chris gets an internship as a stockbroker, it means six extremely competitive months without a salary. He's got a plan, but everything that could go wrong does. And then some. Eventually father and son are homeless and desperate, counting on the slim chance of a permanent job at the end.

This is a seriously amazing story of tenacity against the odds, of being willing to give everything to achieve a dream. Watching Gardener's journey is often jaw-dropping, simply because of the obstacles that block every step. But this is also the film's main failing, because it centres on problems rather than Gardener himself. The plot is a litany of bad breaks, from getting arrested for unpaid parking tickets to having his merchandise stolen by homeless people, from being treated as a gofer by his boss (Castellaneta) to constantly showing up under-dressed for one reason or another.

It's just too much. Sure, Chris strikes it lucky here and there, but it's his raw achievement against the odds that's the most astonishing thing here--and the one thing we never really see. Instead this is a movie about a father and son who stick together amid overwhelming adversity, protecting each other with good humour and warm affection. That's not a bad story, but it's only part of this one.

Real-life father and son Will and Jaden are natural and believable, likeable and fresh. So it's a pity the filmmakers feel the need to lay on the sentiment so thickly, amping up the cuteness factor and focusing on the triumph over adversity, rather than their real accomplishment. It's a terrific tale, and the film is watchable. But it should have been much better than this.

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A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures presentation in association with Relativity Media of an Overbrook Entertainment/Escape Artists production. Produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, James Lassiter, Will Smith. Executive producers, Mark Clayman, Louis D'Esposito, David Alper, Teddy Zee. Directed by Gabriele Muccino. Screenplay, Steven Conrad.

Chris Gardner - Will Smith

Linda - Thandie Newton

Christopher - Jaden Christopher Syre Smith

Jay Twistle - Brian Howe

Martin Frohm - James Karen

Alan Frakesh - Dan Castellaneta

Walter Ribbon - Kurt Fuller

The fact-inspired drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" is more inspirational than creatively inspired -- imbued with the kind of uplifting, afterschool-special qualities that can trigger a major toothache. Clearly savoring the chance to work alongside his moppet son, Will Smith is in serious mode as Chris Gardner, whose story is one of perseverance overcoming tremendous hardship. Smith's heartfelt performance is easy to admire. But the movie's painfully earnest tone should skew its appeal to the portion of the audience that, admittedly, has catapulted many cloying TV movies into hits, and an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey on her popular talkshow can't hurt.

Strictly in political terms, the film could hardly be more finely tuned -- offering a sympathetic view of those struggling to stay out of poverty as well as a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" message. And in that calculation resides its basic flaw -- a nagging sense throughout that we're being emotionally played.

Deriving its title from a misspelling at the San Francisco daycare center where Gardner parks his son, the narrative unfolds in 1981 as the protagonist's voiceover narration identifies various chapters in his life. At its core, there's a grand sense of the American dream in Gardner's rags-to-riches experience -- a guy who found himself homeless and sleeping in subway stations, only to become a multimillionaire. "The Pursuit of Happyness" devotes its two hours entirely to that struggle, wrenching as it often is.

Gardner states at the outset that he didn't know his own father and was determined not to let that happen with his own children. Unfortunately, he squanders his savings investing in a medical gizmo, driving a wedge between him and his wife (Thandie Newton), who eventually takes flight.

At that point, the film becomes a bit of "Kramer vs. Kramer" meets madefor "Homeless to Harvard," as single dad Chris endeavors to keep himself and his 5-year-old son, Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith), afloat financially while pursuing a tantalizing but maddening opportunity: an unpaid internship at brokerage firm Dean Witter Reynolds that offers no promise of employment at the six-month trial's conclusion.

Along the way, Chris rides an economic roller-coaster, at various points having to sleep in a shelter or, worse, a BART station restroom -- cleverly turning the latter ordeal into a game to help his not-fully-understanding boy endure the night. Still, because anyone who has done the slightest research knows this tale is ultimately one of capitalistic triumph (there wouldn't be a movie otherwise), the building toward that inevitable climax proves a sometimes arduous slog.

The younger Smith is allowed to deliver a natural, childlike performance, though occasionally Gabriele Muccino, the Italian helmer of "The Last Kiss" making his English-language debut, and writer Steven Conrad unhelpfully saddle the tot with big, chewy mouthfuls of dialogue.

For the most part, though, the movie is the elder Smith's showcase, and he throws his all into the role. Yet while there are occasional flashes of personality -- such as the moment when Gardner wows a potential employer (Brian Howe) by mastering a Rubik's cube -- the circumstances restrain him, as the movie operates in a rather narrow emotional range before its eventual payoff. (Gardner, credited as an associate producer, came to the producers' attention via a "20/20" profile, and only a brief footnote addresses his subsequent accomplishments.)

Technically, pic does a nice job of re-creating the Bay Area a quarter-century ago through music and wardrobe, and Andrea Guerra's score establishes a properly melancholy tone. In the final accounting, however, "The Pursuit of Happyness" winds up being a little like the determined salesman Mr. Gardner himself: easy to root for, certainly, but not that much fun to spend time with.

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Will Smith doesn't seem the likeliest candidate to play a desperate, struggling man. Whatever the role (love coach, alien fighter, Ali), he projects speed and good times, an almost aerobic self-confidence. But in The Pursuit of Happyness, which is set in San Francisco in 1981, at the dawn of the age of go-go capitalism, Smith doesn't just wear a few flecks of gray in his hair. He slows himself down, playing a man who awakens to the reality that life is nickel-and-diming him to death. It's a beautiful and understated performance, one that hums with a richer, quieter music than Smith has mustered before.

What hooks you in this shrewdly touching movie, based on a true story, is how specific it is about one man's economic perils. Smith's Chris Gardner is an earnest fellow in his late 30s who sells medical equipment — or, rather, one particular item, a high-density bone scanner that he hawks, with middling success, on a freelance basis. His mistake was to invest his savings in these contraptions, and now he's stuck, toting them around town like oversize typewriters. His marriage has fallen apart, and when the prickly, impatient Linda (Thandie Newton) takes off, leaving Chris and his young son (played by Smith's son Jaden with a sly-eyed lack of fuss that matches nicely with his father's), he applies for the internship program at Dean Witter, where he'll compete to be a stockbroker. Smith makes Chris a go-getter with a hint of sadness — a bit of a fuddy-duddy, but a smart, dogged one. (He gets his foot in the door by solving a Rubik's Cube.)

In The Pursuit of Happyness, we don't just know Chris' dreams. We know his bank account, his tally of parking tickets, his back taxes. The fact that he's African-American is there at the margins — he would surely have gone to college had he come from a less hardscrabble background — but the real issue is the subtler one of class mobility in America. Since the internship is unsalaried, Chris is forced to survive by other measures, and what this means is that the job is really geared to people who've already attained middle-class solidity. Chris has to pretend to be something he's not, and the power of Smith's acting is in the gentle, mounting fury with which he absorbs a hundred misperceptions and slights.

As compelling as the film is, it does have a rather single-minded, one-ordeal-after-another, Murphy's Law quality. Yet the director, Italy's Gabriele Muccino, lends a humane touch even to the running joke of Chris getting his bone scanners stolen, and the plot is an inexorable chain of money logic: Chris' escape from a cabbie he can't afford to pay, his looming tax crisis, his move to a hotel and, finally, a homeless shelter. The lower he falls, the more Smith endows him with a ragged nobility and will. The Pursuit of Happyness speaks eloquently to the anxieties of our own time, when staying afloat, let alone movin' on up, has rarely been tougher.

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This is the saddest Will Smith movie I've ever seen. In a turn as a modern Everyman going through the 7 rings of fire in the form of economic disaster and the consequences that flow from not being able to pay bills, the role challenges your ability to hang in with him until he can turn things around. The word, "obstacles" doesn't capture it.

It's based on a 20/20 segment about a successful San Francisco stock broker who experienced poverty, debt, dashed hopes, a broken marriage and a flood of disappointment before he found the work he was destined for. And, this guy was an "A" student with a very strong aptitude for math. Director Gabriele Muccino directed from a script by Steven Conrad

When Chris Gardner (Smith) and Linda (Thandie Newton) got married, times were promising. They moved into a good apartment and invested in a stock of new medical machines -- scanners of bone density -- that they felt sure they could sell to hospitals and doctors interested in advanced technology. This would give them a handsome profit allowing Chris to capitalize on his gifts as a salesman.

Five years later they've still got around half their pile of scanners, a 5-year old son Christopher (Jaden Smith), and Linda is doing double shifts in low-paying jobs to make the rent and put some food on the table.

Not that Chris has been slacking off. In his handsome suits and business-like appearnace, he's a fixture on the streets and corridors, scanner in hand, plying the wards and medical offices of the city. In fact, he doesn't stop trying, but the cost versus the benefit equation of his machines make them a luxury buy for medical offices, and a tough sell. As the difficulties of moving them continues, stress is taking its toll in the marriage.

But, one thing that Chris is if he's anything is a father completely devoted to his son, taking not only an interest but full participation in his lovely little boy's life. When Linda finally caves, and leaves for a job in New York, Chris' insistence wins him custody of his boy, even as economic bad times go to worse. And, then, one day, firmly in the disaster column, he discovers stock brokering.

Using all his wiles and charms (and his ability to do the almost impossible task of solving a Rubik's Cube), he impresses Jay Twistle (Brian Howe), a manager at Dean Witter, he succeeds in being accepted in a competitive training program against tremendous odds. But, he has to face the fact that it's all unpaid until and unless he's hired by the firm, and this while being evicted twice for lack of rent, finding shelter for himself and his boy in a homeless shelter and in a train rest room when he can.

And, it gets worse.

If anyone can pull this off without having you claw your way to the lobby in relief, it's Smith... because this turns into not just a study in bad times, poor decisions and a desperation none of us should ever have to endure, but a story of a father's love, a relationship of father and son that does endure through all of it and gives the picture its meaning.

Little Jaden Smith comes at it with personality blazing. A joy to watch and a role very happily fulfilled. Newton has about the worst of the deal, having to be the bad guy who loses all trace of patience with an overstrained situation and earning damn little sympathy for her badgering of our hero. Brian Howe and James Karen are entirely appropriate choices for the bottom-line kind of executives who have little warm and smiley feelings for their applicants unless one manages to stand out.

The quest for the commission dollar as a dehumanizing influence isn't dealt with except by peripheral reference and as the brass ring of success. You get the impression, however, after the gauntlet of defeats that would diminish a lesser man, Chris Gardner as portrayed by Will Smith won't be dehumanized. As for the real Chris Gardner, some of that indomitable humanity certainly seems like it must be part of the package.

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The Pursuit of Happyness - Rating: 2/10

I must give The Pursuit of Happyness this: what a great, persevering way it has of pursuing a level of suck rarely seen in movies. Really, The Pursuit of Suckiness is merciless. When you don’t think it can get any worse it does. When I squeezed my knees with my hands and begged for mercy it bludgeoned me with its heavy sledgehammer of melodrama. It’s another “inspired by a true story” that’s based on a best seller (with a convenient near Christmas time release), but despite such predictable fare being uplifting and occasionally refreshing, The Pursuit of Happyness is an overwrought test of patience. How long can you endure this story? Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a medical supply salesman in 1981 San Francisco. This job isn’t working out well because his supplies tell only slightly more than x-ray machine but cost significantly more. So he falls into a financial crisis, much to the dismay of his double shift working wife Linda (Thandie Newton) and his curious 5 year old son Christopher (Jaden Smith). But wait! There’s an opening for a job as a stock broker at a company called Dean Witter for Chris, who while not going through college, decides to roll the dice and go for it, cause man, he sure knows his way around a Rubik’s cube! From here you can throw it on auto-pilot: happy moment, sad moment, sit, squirm, repeat.

I’d like to foremost address the casting of a real life father and son, as a fiction father and son, possibly a commendable idea. Especially so with someone as likeable as Will Smith and his cute, afro haired, gap toothed, squeaky voiced son. Maybe 10-20 years from now when the two of them watch this together, their hearts will sing with love, admiration and respect for each other, shown through celluloid. Thing is, this won’t happen for anyone else. Somewhere in their acting process they forgot a crucial ingredient: entertainment. As quickly as you can say “hey, isn’t that title misspelled?” your level of care for the interaction and plights of these characters will already be virtually non-existent. When the film depends upon your wishing good fortune on a pair of characters, it’s catastrophic when you feel nothing for their hardships or success. Will Smith seems to be only acting for the positive effects on his son, in a ceaseless message of following your dreams and never saying “can’t”. Everyone (from Smith to Newton, to some random store clerk) take themselves far too seriously in this movie, which is dangerous because I don’t think anyone else will.

No one’s helped in The Pursuit of Happyness by a turgid script from Steve Conrad, a writer who fell into adequate praise for writing Gore Verbinski’s The Weather Man last year. The only talent he shows here is an uncanny ability for snail pacing and a level of predictability that breaks through the stratosphere. Granted, this genre of film is very liable to be predictable, but the film tries so hard to this that stereotype that it only makes itself look silly and its events somehow even more foreseeable! Within 15 minutes you’ll find yourself knowing exactly where the movie is going and how it’s going to get there: drape us in bleakness, then give us a glimmer of hope. What might get lost in this mess is a few timely sequences that are genuinely believable and heartfelt.

What’s readily apparent however is the excessive amount of bad luck for Will Smith’s character and the rapidity he has it at. It’s at this point where the “true story” becomes completely suspect and yawn inducing…possibly scream inducing too. The script is perplexing in its inconsistency: some things need to be cut, some things needed to be extended, the pace needed to be expedited, and certain liberties, less constant “bad luck” sequences mainly, needed to be taken with this true story. By the way editors, the delete button or a pair of scissors are useful. I don’t know if you ever saw a scene you didn’t like, but make friends with these things in the future.

One good thing can came out of The Pursuit of Happyness: a surefire hit of a drinking game at your next party! Okay, try this out: Drink every time you roll your eyes. Drink every time Smith’s character teaches his son a lesson and orchestral music swells up. Drink every time Smith smiles at his son, despite the fact that he faces internal conflict. Drink every time a landlord asks Smith for rent money. Drink every time Smith’s character feels jubilant but is then brought down to earth and vice versa. Drink every time the little boy questions something or someone. Drink yourself to death a quarter of the way through to avoid a worse fate: the rest of this movie.

-Andrew Guarini

Seems to be getting a number of less than stellar reviews. This guy gave it a 2/10. Lol.

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This was my greatest fear.. everything is so stage and so over the top..as "hollywood uplifting" that you kind of miss the raw emotion..and it could be another, "good performance by Will, not a great movie" ala Ali.. I'm always coming from the cynical angle tho, so I'm sure a lot of people will love it.. Negative reviews from hollywood reporter and variety does not bode well :paperbag:

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