A Birthday Con


Today was one of my sisters’ birthday. I have three sisters, and this is the youngest of the three, but she’s older than me. I’m actually the youngest of five. I also have an older brother. And yes, it’s true what they say, the reason why the youngest child is the youngest is because the parents stop after they have reached their desired level of excellence. Today was also some dead guy’s birthday, so my sister had the day off from work. It’s not disrespectful that I don’t know who the dead guy is, no one in Illinois, the only state I think that acknowledges this guy’s birthday, knows who this dead guy is. However, a few years ago, after I graduated from high school (I know it was after that because we never got this day off when I was in school. More proof that life is not fair.), the state started giving schools the option to close on the first Monday in March to celebrate his birthday. So naturally some schools do. Now I mention all of this as my way of leading up to the fact that I went and saw the latest Will Smith movie today.

I normally don’t go see Will Smith movies. Well, unless he has, by some miraculous error of judgment, been nominated for an Academy Award. In which case I go see the movie so I can honestly say he didn’t deserve the nomination. I might also go see a movie of his if his costar is somebody I really really like. Yes there were two reallies there, because I really really am not a fan of Will Smith’s and it all has to even out. My sister, however, is a fan of his. There’s no accounting for taste, even in the same family. For instance my brother thinks John Wayne is the best actor EVER. Since it was her birthday, and I really really like my sister, I suggested we go see Focus.

Now for the hard part of this post. I liked it. I didn’t want to. I had every intention of being able to come home and rant about how horrible the movie was. But it wasn’t horrible. I’m not saying it was great. I’m not saying that Will Smith was wonderful in it. But it was a solid two hours of movie watching that did not make me look at my phone, even once, to check how much more torture I was going to be subjected to.

After the movie I went to dinner with my family and when my niece asked her mom how the movie was, my sister said it was “really good. Not like good, like it was going to win any awards or anything, but really good.” I actually think that sums it up pretty well. This is not one of those movies that you are going to leave the theatre thinking deep thoughts. You’re not going to leave wanting to read up on a character, a disease, or a political issue. It’s a movie that you are going to leave thinking you were entertained for two hours, and the money spent is not money you are going to want back.


I think part of the reason I liked it was actually because of Will Smith. He plays a con man of sorts in the movie. A part he has been playing in real life for so long that he should be able to nail it in his reel life as well. You see the trick of a con man is you have to get your mark to like you, to trust you. And then once you do, you get their focus one place and you steal from another place. There’s actually a scene in the movie, where Smith explains this to his female protégé, that is really fun to watch. Yeah, Will Smith has that whole getting everyone to like you and then get their cash down pat.


Now about that female protégé, I have to say Margot Robbie is stunningly beautiful and quickly becoming an amazing go to actress. She really holds her own against Mr. Smith and at times helps him to seem a little more palpable. The one part of the movie that I did find disturbing is that Ms. Robbie is all of 24 years old and Mr. Smith is all of 46 years old (and I need to say he really is starting to look it, which is not a bad thing, and might be part of what made him more likable in the movie). Now, I’m all for May/December relationships and am still hoping that Betty White will discover me and sweep me off my feet. However, I really wish that Hollywood would stop pushing these relationships down our throat and start casting actors with actresses their own age. It’s especially disconcerting that it is always an actor in their 40’s or older with an actress in their 20s. I mean don’t tell me they couldn’t have gotten a younger actor or an older actress to have done these parts. If they had I wouldn’t have felt like what I was watching was some misplaced daddy issues? And before you say the age difference is important to the story, don’t! Because it wasn’t. If it was it would have been part of the story, and there was not one line of dialogue that even hinted at it.

I think another thing that makes this movie so enjoyable, is that while it’s not necessarily anything new, it is an original script. It’s not based on a book or graphic novel. It’s not a remake or a reboot. It’s not a McConaughey/Hudson romcom. It is far from a cookie cutter super hero flick, which is proven by the fact that there are absolutely no cities destroyed in this movie. There’s not even any full on fight scenes, car chases or explosions. It’s just a con caper that I was glad I got conned in to seeing so I could help my sister celebrate her (number has been edited out of respect) birthday!


2 thoughts on “A Birthday Con

  1. Fair review. Considering your disdain for Mr. Smith. I found this movie to be an entertaining couple of hours and worth the price.


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