Aroview: Will Smith assumes the inspirational life story of Chris Gardner, a struggling salesman and single father on the poverty line who works his way up the corporate ladder to become a stockbroker in the boom eighties.
Displaying a palpable chemistry with real-life son Jaden (who plays Chris Jr.), Smith’s modulated performance tugs invariably at the heartstrings without overcompensating on the sentiment. Less can be said of the film, however, which over earnestly pursues its rhetoric of the American Dream, all the while charting a predictably weepy course for Gardner’s rags-to-riches transformation. Dir. Muccino, a specialist in Italian melodrama, remains also alarming neutral to the story’s African American complex, favouring warm fuzzies over social realities, and gilding it all in the nostrum that money indeed buys happiness.