If Will Smith thought his role as Deadshot in Suicide Squad was a blip on the radar towards greater riches, then his agent should have steered him well clear of Collateral Beauty. The trailer lays the exposition on thick as a man who sends letters to love, time and death before he is encountered by all three in human form. Normally this synopsis would be prefaced with "spoilers" but in this case, that term would be used loosely.
Part Scrooged, with a dose of Love Actually (it also features Keira Knightely) thrown in for good measure on the eve of the holidays. This drama attempts to shoot for the stars, only to end up stalling in first gear to never get off the tarmac. The $36m budget is modest by most Hollywood standards and somehow the critics believe that is way overblown as they are left to scratch their heads and wonder what it was all for.
How Bad Can One Movie Be? Collateral Beauty Pushes The Limits
Anyone involved in this Warner Brothers picture should look away now, as Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian gives a blunt assessment.
"This horrifyingly yucky, toxically cutesy ensemble dramedy creates a Chernobyl atmosphere of manipulative sentimentality, topped off with an ending which M. Night Shyamalan might reject as too ridiculous."
What does Alan Scherstuhl from The Village Voice think?
"You'll shake your head. You'll struggle to accept that what you saw on that screen actually played in theatres, was funded and approved by distributors, took a month or so of the lives of those extraordinary actors."
Does Stephen Whitty of NY Daily News have anything nice to say?
"What starts as a study of a grieving father – Will Smith in full do-I-get-an-Oscar mode – soon turns into a mediocre holiday fable, its Christmas stockings stuffed with every heartwarming Hollywood cliché."
Talent Wasted: Reviewer Asks What Smith Is Doing In This Flop
Matt Goldberg from Collider ponders what the actor was contemplating when he accepted the offer.
"His (Smith) performance here consists of talking slowly and in a deeper register to let you know he’s sad," argues the reviewer. "What’s frustrating is that Smith is one of the most charismatic actors of his generation, and he’s wasted his talent on terrible films that flatter his ego."
To summarize the mess that makes this 96-minute movie, Goldberg struggles to understand how such a project could ever come to pass.
"For a film that thinks it’s being uplifting and inspiring," starts Goldberg, "Collateral Beauty is arguably the most offensive and insipid major Hollywood film this year. To call it 'misguided' would be a compliment. It’s a movie that’s not only completely divorced from real emotions and relationships, but sees that kind of divorce as something worth celebrating. The only redeeming thing about Collateral Beauty is that you won’t be able to look away at the non-stop horror it continues to reveal."
You have been warned.