The general reaction to Gabriele Muccino‘s The Pursuit of Happyness (Columbia, 12.15) — the Will Smith-and-his-son- sleeping-in-bathrooms movie that’s based on a real-life story — has been politely positive all around, but gradually the politeness has given way to little candor farts here and there, and the upshot is that folks are finally saying it’s not a Best Picture contender.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s said to be very nice and warm, but “Frank Capra-esque… emotionally affecting…tiny but timely…light…a reach.” We know what that those words mean. An affecting heart movie, a likely audience hit, a Best Actor nomina- tion for Will Smith…fine, but no golden naked-man cigar for the film itself, and without Best Picture contender cred it’s always a little harder for a Best Actor contender to win through.
The contest is still between Smith vs. Peter O’Toole, I suppose, but the weak- ness-of-Happyness factor is something to mull over.