Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, is no Ocean’s

Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, Focus brings nothing new to the genre of the con artist film.
While the slick heist movie certainly does not belong in the same category as Ocean’s Eleven, it’s a far cry from being compared to Smith’s After Earth.

Will Smith headlines a cast that includes Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, and Gerald McRaney.

Smith stars as Nicky Spurgeon, a seasoned con artist who becomes involved with Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie), a rookie con artist who fails badly when they first cross each other’s paths at a hotel bar. As such, he teaches her all the tricks that he knows but as soon as she gets too close to him, he calls it off and they go their own separate paths. Nicky becomes Jess’s mentor in the profession.

Nicky is one of the last people you would suspect to be a con artist with that million-dollar smile of his but he was raised in the profession. His father and grandfather taught him the tricks of the trade and he continues on in the family business. He’ll do anything from picking pockets to running the long con. Turn your back on him and chances are something will be stolen off of your person.

Nicky’s big advice to Jess is to focus. She has the right equipment to succeed in the game but she’s a novice and needs to learn. In New Orleans, Jess shows that she is a quick learner and her work makes her look as if she were a seasoned pro.

Three years later in Buenos Aires, Nicky is working in the race car circuit and who does he see show up out of the blue but Jess. Through the rekindling of their friendship, Jess is able to throw him off of his game and mess up his plans but not without some twists and turns along the way.

Caption: (L-r) WILL SMITH, director/writers GLENN FICARRA and JOHN REQUA and MARGOT ROBBIE on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ heist film “FOCUS.” Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. Photo Credit: Frank Masi

There is one big twist in this movie that nobody sees coming at all. To mention it here would take away from the film’s experience so I won’t do that to potential film goers. I’ll just say that it got a “What?!?” from this reviewer while sitting in the audience on Thursday night.

The stakes get higher and higher as the movie progresses. From New York to New Orleans to Buenos Aires, there are twists and turns at every location. Whether it is one of the biggest football games of the year or the world of car racing, even though the formula is there for action, adventure, and romance, it falls just short of reaching the heights that it needs to be. It’s a shame, too, because writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa gave us the brilliant Crazy, Stupid, Love, it in itself had a twist that nobody sees coming, a few years ago.