Focus

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(2014) ★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 11 December, 15.45pm and 20.00pm

After After Earth bombed, former box-office prince Will Smith probably needed to deflect attention away from his son Jaden, who he’d also tried to coax into stardom in The Karate Kid reboot. The result of his refocus is no family film. It’s a con-game caper aiming for the glitzy flair of The Thomas Crown Affair (Ray Conniff’s muzaky cover of The Windmills of Your Mind kind of gives that game away). Writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa – the Bad Santa boys – went a bit soft with Crazy, Stupid, Love.

This hustle is even slushier, lost in a haze of lies, eyes and flimsy alibis, few of which really stack up and none of which stick. Will’s an untouchable flim-flam man, surveying the city from a highrise rooftop like the gargoyles in Bonfire of the Vanities. He lights on sexy upstart Margot Robbie, figuring out her game before she’s got his trousers down. The first hour is tolerable, with Will inducting Margot into his New Orleans gang of artful dodgers. It’s all about focus, he tells her, before showing her the tricks of his trade: “You get that focus, you can take whatever you want.” But it’s all so blasé, hardly in the league of David Mamet’s House of Games.

More concerned with keeping its cool, it’s not so much show-and-tell as simply showing off as they score big easy marks at Mardi Gras, stealing from regular folks out having a good time. Sweet. Credit card skimming too. Explain that to the missus. The second hour is three years later in Buenos Aires, involving an incomprehensible encoded Formula 1 fuel-burn algorithm scam that’s about as amusing as Talladega Nights and as appetising as a trayful of appletinis.

The switchback grifts have become tiresome, like the Julia Roberts/Clive Owen spats in Tony Gilroy’s Duplicity. The music is mainly hopped-up hip and pop stuff when really it should have been Money for Nothing. There’s still room for a couple of pleasant surprises: Eric Burden’s version of Baby Please Don’t Go and It’s a Beautiful Day’s soaring White Bird.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 105min

IMDB – Focus

TMDB – Focus

Rotten Tomatoes – Focus

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 12 December at 4:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 12 December at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 13 December at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 13 December at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 14 December at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 14 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 15 December at 9:45AM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 15 December at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 16 December at 4:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 16 December at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 17 December at 3:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 17 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Crime/Thriller Monday, 21 December at 12:50PM
Sky Movies Crime/Thriller Monday, 21 December at 9:00PM
Sky Movies Showcase Thursday, 24 December at 2:30PM
Sky Movies Showcase Thursday, 24 December at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Crime/Thriller Tuesday, 29 December at 11:20AM