For some reason Paul Schrodt‘s undated Esquire.com review of the most recent Men in Black 3 trailer (uploaded on 3.5) struck me as funny. Key comment: “Will you see it? Yes, if for no other reason than because you can’t remember the last time you saw Will Smith in anything.”
Let me reiterate something. Smith is all but finished. He’s become a superstar mummy. He has conservative-choiced his career into a state of aloof Olympian ruin.
I wrote the following three and a quarter years ago: “Take a look at Will Smith’s IMDB page and you’ll notice that over the last 15 years he’s made four movies with four top-ranked directors — Fred Schepisi‘s Six Degrees of Separation (’94), Tony Scott‘s Enemy of the State (’98), Michael Mann‘s Ali (’00) and Robert Redford‘s The Legend of Bagger Vance (’01). And Redford’s film (a.k.a., Bag of Gas) was probably his worst and therefore barely counts.
“The rest of Smith’s directors have all been journeymen — nice guy professsionals (Barry Sonnenfeld, Peter Berg) but mainly fellows who can shoot a film in focus, get it in on time, etc, but none of them visionaries or even marginally outside the box.
“25 years hence which films will Smith be remembered for? Ali and what else? The man only has a few years to knuckle down and work with the AA-quality directors, or history will not remember him with any great respect or kindliness.”
And here we are 40 months later, and Smith has not made any kind of exciting or highly respectable movie since. As Mosquito Coast was to Harrison Ford (i.e., the somewhat risky, financially unsuccessful film that convinced him to never risk anything ever again), Seven Pounds was to Will Smith.