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The Pursuit of Happyness
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Thandie Newton, Brian Howe
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Web Site: www.sony.com/pursuit
Kiddie Movie: They will probably be bored.
Date Movie: Only if you're able to pay the rent.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Chris gets a little upset, but it's all for his son.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: There's a bunch of cute scenes.
Memorable Scene: When Chris Gardner gets hired after the internship.
Memorable Quote: Little Christopher: "Is 'fuck' spelled right?", and in a different scene, Chris says something like "He must have had on some really nice pants."
Directed By: Gabriele Muccino
Produced By: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, James Lassiter, Will Smith, Steve Tisch

The Pursuit of Happyness
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 1:56 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
Many times we probably forget that Will Smith isnít always just that fun guy in fun movies like "Hitch," "Independence Day," and the "Men in Black" franchise. But then a movie or two comes around which snaps us back into remembering that Will Smith is many times more than that character, and that Will Smith is one hell of an actor. "The Pursuit of Happyness" is one of those movies.

"The Pursuit of Happyness" gives us the Hollywooded story of Chris Gardner, a struggling salesman and father who goes from homeless shelters to being a millionaire. I say the Hollywooded story because there are instantly differences simply because in Chrisí real story, his son is 2 yearís old, whereas in the movie, little Christopher, played by Will Smithís son, Jaden, is 5. In any case, it doesnít make a difference because the basic story holds on. Pretty much Chris is hitting a low point in his life. He invested his familyís savings in a medical device doctors didnít really want, and struggled every month to sell one or two just to make the rent. Meanwhile, his wife, Linda (Thandie Newton) works double-shifts to help make ends meet, but eventually even she is tired of Chrisí not being able to pay the rent. She bolts to New York, and Chris insists little Christopher stay with him.

With his wife gone, Chris has his sights set on a new life, a prosperous life, and thinks he can find it by being a stockbroker at Dean Winter. Accepted into an internship at Dean Winter, Chris, upon realizing he wouldnít be getting paid during this time, at first considers not accepting the position, but then he sees he might have a chance to balance no income at Dean Winter by still selling the bone scan devices he got snookered into sinking his money into. Itís tough for Chris, dropping his son off at the Chinatown Day Care, hopping buses and trains back and forth for work, but he seems to be maintaining, up until a tax lien leaves him flat broke, and on the street. But Chris is one determined dude, doing everything he can to keep food in his sonís stomach and someplace to sleep at night. He doesnít want to give his son up to foster care because of his own childhood where he didnít have a father, and uses every resource to keep them together.

Sure, we know the story is going to have a happy ending, because, well, it does. Chris Gardner gets hired by Dean Winter (in a scene that might be what tips it for Will Smith to get an Academy Award nomination), and Chris seems to be able to finally be happy. (Although in real life, Chris still had challenges, especially in starting his own brokerage firm in Chicago, but that still worked out well for him).

Not having read the book, I canít make the direct comparison of movie to book life, but my guess is that the book is a lot better. Itís not that the movie is bad, but there was something missing, and I havenít been able to put my finger on it. It wasnít Willís performance as Chris because he was fantastic. You could see the struggles, pain, and shear joy Chris must have gone through during that year in his life. Jaden Smith was also good in his role as little Christopher, able to show love for his dad yet still not understanding why they canít sleep at the motel they get evicted from. I didnít care that much for Thandie Newtonís portrayal of Linda, but that didnít seem to be what distracted me during the movie. I suppose the only thing I can say is that from the trailer, and the interviews the real Chris Gardner was doing here in Chicago before the movie came out, there really wasnít anything to surprise me while watching the film.

And so, I guess Iíll wrap things up like thisÖ

For me, "The Pursuit of Happyness" is a 3 star out of 5 movie that you will still enjoy, mostly because of Will Smith. The story is one of sticking with your dreams, trusting in your ability, and doing whatever it takes to make life better for you and your family. There are times you might get a little bored during the movie, but stick through it for the perfect ending where Will Smith, as Chris, shows difficult obstacles can be tackled, as long as you donít think a bulky box holding a bone scan machine is a time machine that will get you back to the Ď60ís and Jimi Hendrix, it actually gets you back to the time of the dinosaurs.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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