A pair of pretentious well to do New Yorkers Flan (Donald Sutherland) and Ouisa Kittridge want to tell you the story of how Paul (Will Smith) came into their lives. It would behoove you to find someone else at the party to talk to.
It was late. I was tired. There was nothing else on. I wish there was.
Paul arrived unannounced on the Kittridge’s doorstep, fresh faced and loquacious, despite recently having been mugged. As he recovers Paul unexpectedly charms the Kittridge’s and their dinner guest with tales of a rich life full of experiences. It seems he also knows their children, as well as much about history, art, cooking and literature.
What a delight! What pith! Such repartee! How clipped the delivery! How relevant the references!
It all becomes clearer with the revelation that Paul is Sidney Poitier’s son. Of course. He is so erudite, thoughtful and witty. It all makes sense.
Actually no it doesn’t. When the ruse comes to light, all I could do was wonder why someone would put so much time into learning so very much just to fool others, instead of utilising the very obvious learning capacity to create something original of their own, or to earn vast sums working for others.
The film directly references Henry Higgins, but it actually has far more in common with The Talented Mr Ripley.
The problem is that once you wonder how this is all so frightfully compelling, that you realise that everything is too forced, too fabricated, too artificial to warrant real emotion, either from the characters themselves or the viewer. This is a film where the characters cry wolf for so long you have wish that the real wolf would show up and tear them apart.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. Will Smith proves his effortless charisma, something that now seems so very contrived and forced.