Will Smith Gets Serious in “Collateral Beauty”
By Skip Sheffield
How much do you like Will Smith? Do you like him enough to see him portray a severely depressed man with no super powers or martial arts skills?
Such is the case with Howard, a successful New York advertising executive Smith plays who has retreated from life after the death of his 6-year-old daughter and his subsequent divorce.
“Collateral Beauty” is not a feel-good movie. It is more like a feel-bummed movie. Will Smith plays Howard, a successful New York advertising executive whose agency is in grave peril due to his disconnection. Things have gotten so bad; three of Howard’s friends are hired to represent the three things Howard is obsessed with: Love, Time and Death. They are an impressive lot: Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly and Michael Pena.
Edward Norton gets the most screen time as Whit, second in command to Will Smith’s Howard. Whit and his colleague Claire (Kate Winslet) come up with the scheme to jolt Howard out of his depression.
I know about depression from personal experience. There is nothing funny or logical about it. It can be crippling and even deadly. How director David Frankel or writer Allan Loeb thought they could make a comedy out of it mystifies me. At least this movie lifts up the rug to reveal the people struggling with this disability. That’s good, but it ain’t funny folks.