Super Zero 

HancockVbCrLf dives down, down and away to a new low for the summer blockbuster.

click to enlarge art27_film_hancock_200.jpg

飼.飼飼�­A,飼Clear-eyed realism isn't expected in a movie that sets up Will Smith as a drunken superhero flying through buildings. But it takes place in a Los Angeles without Latinos? Such perverse upsetting of nature can only be the work of one evildoer: the mad Hollywood superproducer.

The rap sheet of chummy insiders grasping for a payday in "Hancock," about a superhero (Smith) who tends to do more damage than the criminals, includes Smith and a variety of Hollywood players, including some who brought you "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," which closely resembles "Hancock" in its cynical mash-up of A-list talent and schlocky, B-grade high concept. Instead of a husband-and-wife team of assassins, as in that Brangelina vehicle from a couple of years ago, "Hancock" offers a superhuman couple. The two films would be far more difficult to tell apart on paper.

As a movie, "Hancock" is like one of those loud, garishly lit theme restaurants an unlucky tourist might stumble into while vacationing, with boorish patrons, jaundiced staff and an ownership that just wants your money for the most routine effort. It's no surprise to find Smith's character, a superpowered bum with a foul mouth, is from Florida, the spiritual capital of vulgarity. Having him beat up a child is one of the movie's few novelties, but a surprising low.

You can tell the filmmakers behind this movie are really in touch with the people by the selection of Hancock's savior -- a marketing whiz in a BMW (Jason Bateman, the only solid casting choice in view). Through the exciting world of PR, Hancock apologizes, goes to jail and rehab and learns to say "good job." None of it is remotely interesting or funny.

The movie lurches into its second act at an anticipated moment when one of the main characters turns out, not surprisingly, to be more than human too, and Hancock discovers he's not the only super-being in the world. There are a couple of ordinary fight sequences to wrap things up, but not even the action, with less-than-impressive effects, can lift the proceedings out of the bargain basement. Better the film had ended earlier, during a saner moment when the mayor of L.A. wishes aloud that Hancock relocate somewhere else. May his makers follow. (PG-13) 92 min.



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