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Stars: Will Smith, Margot Robbie. Rodrigo Santoro, Gerald McRaney

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

An amiable but aimless and very lightweight conman caper which casts some of its actors in roles they seem to have little specific aptitude for playing. The film starts quite brightly with a small army of conmen picking pockets with bewildering speed, even cashing money on a credit card and returning it before the owner realises it's missing.

Alas, the story soon gets bogged down in the relationship between arch 'sting' artist Nicky 'Mellow' Spurgeon (Smith) and budding congirl Jess (Robbie). Unfortunately, neither of the stars has the requisite light touch or subtlety for these roles, Robbie in particular falling flat in a part she renders as mere eye-candy but which, if better written, the young Julia Roberts, for example, might have made something of.

Some of the cons themselves are far too complex, not to mention far-fetched, to achieve the desired impact. And the story, which badly needs to end on a swirling, upbeat note, signally fails to do so.

Flatly directed by Ficarra and Requa, who fail to give the piece any sort of rhythm - a lot of it feels rushed - the movie is another misfire for Smith, who seems to have almost as many flops in recent times as the hapless Johnny Depp. At least Depp always has the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie to fall back on.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Kodak.
106 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 25 Feb 2015