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'Focus': What are critics saying about the new Will Smith movie?

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(Read caption) 'Focus' stars Will Smith (l.) and Margot Robbie (r.).

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What are reviewers saying about the upcoming movie “Focus” starring Will Smith and “The Wolf of Wall Street” actress Margot Robbie?

“Focus,” which comes to theaters on Feb. 27, stars Mr. Smith as a con artist whose ex (Ms. Robbie), who’s also very good with such schemes, shows up while he’s in the middle of a particularly complicated plan involving car racing. 

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So far, the film is receiving mixed reviews and currently holds a score of 61 out of 100 on review aggregator website Metacritic

Entertainment Weekly critic Chris Nashawaty gave the movie a B grade, calling it “fairly predictable.”

“Instead of making you dizzy with the kind of smart double crosses that leave you patting for your wallet on the way out of the theater, it just piles on more and more twists, each more implausible than the last,” Nashawaty wrote. “What keeps the film humming along as smoothly as it does is the chemistry and charisma of its leads.”

And Variety critic Peter Debruge found the movie to be “suave but slight.”

“If the filmmakers have convinced us of anything… it’s that they’re working even harder than the characters are to deceive us,” Debruge wrote. “It’s a nice change to see Smith unsettled, and Robbie, who wields the upper hand for the better part of the movie, more than holds her own in every scene… While not quite the 'art' it’s billed to be, if the perfect con is about diverting one’s focus, then this one keeps you distracted ’til the end.”

Meanwhile, A.V. Club writer Ignatiy Vishnevetsky gave the movie a C+ grade.

“Focus’ problem isn’t that its stars lack charm, but that it’s squeezed into tight spaces between protracted explanations of setups, backstories, and twists,” Vishnevetsky wrote. “Though its doesn’t connect as a whole, Focus has its share of bright spots.”

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And Hollywood Reporter writer Todd McCarthy found the movie to have “little sizzle.”

“[The movie] plays more like an inventory of thieving and gambling techniques than a captivating diversion, even if it's hard not to be voyeuristically pulled in by some of its ruses,” McCarthy wrote. “Unfortunately, since the major characters' salient character traits are insincerity, opaqueness and untruthfulness, it's hard to invest much interest in any of them… [But[ Robbie builds on the strong impression she made in The Wolf of Wall Street a year ago with a vigorous and, it must be said, highly watchable turn as a promising student made good.”


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