Will Smith delivers a smart and suave performance in “Focus”, a new caper/suspense/action/comedy, a refreshing departure from his messianic roles (“After Earth”, “I Am Legend”) and broad comedy (“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”). Smith plays Nicky, a lifelong conman at the top of his game who one night finds himself the target of the aspiring but guileless Jess (Margot Robbie – “Wolfe of Wall Street”). Sensing her potential, however, Nicky shows Jess the ropes and invites her to join his crew in New Orleans as they take on the unsuspecting hordes during Superbowl week. From then on, Focus hits you with twists, deceptions and double-crosses with such marked regularity that you’re never quite sure where you stand.
The chemistry between the two leads is undeniable, and the ensemble is top notch, including Adrian Martinez as Smith’s long-time accomplice ‘Farhad’, Rodrigo Santoro (Love Actually) as a billionaire playboy/Formula 1 team owner, Gerald McRaney (House of Cards), as Santoro’s interminably suspicious bodyguard, and perhaps best of all, BD Wong as a compulsive gambler with a, lets just say passionate reaction to wagers.
The Bottom Line: Focus is is a refreshing caper, loaded with surprizing twists and turns, than benifits greatly from its glamorous setting and the charm of its stars. Leave the kids home for this one.