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Pursuit of Happyness, The


Stars: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, Brian Howe, James Karen

Director: Gabriele Muccino

Although its message is ultimately one of hope and achievement, there are far, far too many downbeat scenes in this almost totally depressing story of a father trying to make a life for himself and his son in the America of the early 1980s.

Chris Gardner (Will Smith) sells bone density scanners to hospitals. It's a precarious living. All the same, there seems little reason why his wife (Newton in a thankless role) should leave him. But she does.

Keeping custody of his five-year-old son Christopher (Smith's real-life son Jaden), Chris faces tax demands, rent demands and parking fines, and is soon homeless and broke. He gets an (unpaid) internship at a city brokerage firm but, while he's waiting to see if he's the one in 40 who's made the grade, he and Christopher spend nights in flophouses, motels and even the men's room at the Metro.

It's a humiliating time, and all too much for the poor audience, despite decent performances and (very) occasional upbeat moments.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Technicolor.
118 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Jan 2007