Rating: 1 star
Seven Pounds is a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, cloaked in a really crappy movie.
How best to describe this clunker? Let’s put it this way: Seven Pounds isn’t just bad—it’s historically bad; deserves to be mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000 bad; “I can’t believe what I just saw” bad. I’ll give my man Will Smith this: He does nothing halfway.
Smith plays Ben Thomas, an extremely bummed out IRS agent. As the film starts, he’s sitting on the edge of a bed in a fleabag motel, calling in a suicide—his own. Then we have flashbacks to happier days when Ben was some sort of aeronautical engineer living in a sweet beachside estate; then fragments of a horrific car crash; then many scenes of Ben being a spectral, stalkerish figure: He harasses a blind telemarketer (Woody Harrelson) to see if he’s a good man; he finds an abused mother of two (Elpidia Carrillo) who needs help getting away from her husband; he shadows a beautiful artist (adorable Rosario Dawson, who deserves better) with a congenital heart defect, and so on. What the heck is happening?
Well, if you’re even remotely good at figuring out plot twists (I’m just okay at it), you’ll put the pieces together about half an hour in—leaving you with 90 of the longest minutes of your life to look forward to. Not only is the film slow moving and humorless, it’s insufferably pretentious. Smith and director Gabriel Muccino (who teamed up for the really good The Pursuit of Happyness) think they’re making something profound and penetrating—art that cleanses the soul. Instead, it’s shallow, didactic, and more than a little ridiculous.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the jellyfish yet. . .