Featuring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Thandie Newton, and Brian Howe
I didn’t see this film on it’s theatrical release… I’m generally not into manufactured feel-good flicks, but on its video run, The Pursuit of Happyness turned out to be exactly what I thought…
Saccharine, quasi-Capraesque it rises above the level of pabulum yet still has its archetypes in all the right places (though based on a true story, the film doesn’t offer complex characterizations)… the script virtually writes itself, but the acting is above par and what we’d expect from Will Smith and his all-too-cute reel/real-life son, Jaden Smith.
Smith (Will, that is) plays a down on his luck salesman who overcomes a myriad of obstacles to become a stock-broker on Wall Street. It would have made a great made-for-TV, Hallmark Hall Of Fame show. There’s nothing much to shout out about on the technical side. The film’s cinematic style is subdued so as not to interfere with the acting and emotional story arc. The anamorphic transfer is Widescreen 2.40:1 in 1080p resolution. Crisp, clear without harsh edges or contrast, the audio is also top-notch featuring a choice of uncompressed PCM 5.1 surround (English) or Dolby Digital 5.1 (English/French audio… Subtitles are in
Oprah and the saints be praised, this is a feature-packed disc with a commentary by Italian director Gabriele Muccino, a making of short highlighting the relationship between the Smith boys ( Father And Son: On Screen And Off ), another making of featurette, again highlighting how a foreign director came to make a typical Hollywood rags-to-riches pic: Making Pursuit: An Italian Take On The American Dream (interesting in how it show’s Will Smith’s ability to pick directors and Muccino’s ability to put a wide-eyed foreign spin on a traditional American tale), an interview with the real Chris Gardener ( The Man Behind The Movie: A Conversation With Chris Gardner), the “I Can” Song (audio feature), the weirdest little feature is a six-plus minute item called Inside The Rubik’s ® Cube and shows how the little puzzle box still bends the mind (though is not part of the real life action, Will Smith apparently dug the Cube enough to feature it in the film as a minor plot device).