Calling the 12.19 Sony release “an endlessly sentimental fable” that “aims at the heart at the expense of the head,” being “unguided by rationality and intellect,” he says it’s considerably “off-putting for its manifest manipulations, as well as its pretentiousness and self-importance.”
He also bitch-slaps Smith for embracing his character’s “saintlike status…in a way so convincing that it proves disturbing as an indication of how highly this or any momentarily anointed superstar may regard himself.”
The film “offers either seductive emotional appeal or indigestible mawkishness, according to taste. Along the way, there are references to a fatal vehicular accident, suggestions of [Smith’s character’s] deceptiveness and inscrutable imagery of a jellyfish which, you may be sure, all factor crucially in the denouement.
“Whether one entirely rejects the project’s high-minded game-playing or falls right into the filmmakers’ quasi-spiritual trap and is thereby helplessly reduced to a jellyfish-like state at the end, it’s impossible to claim that Muccino and Nieporte lack the courage of their convictions, or faith in the moral value of their contrived little sacrificial fable.”