What you may need to know
1. Brace yourself.
2. Wealthy New Yorker Will Smith suffers a personal tragedy and, after withdrawing from the world, Makes Sense Of It All™ by writing a series of letters to the universe itself.
3. Miraculously, the universe replies. That, or his friends hire actors to pretend to be his cosmic pen pals. Which would be an extraordinarily cruel thing to do to a man with mental health issues.
4. Poor old Will Smith doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going these days. A Grammy-winning start in music led to enormous success in TV, before he would become one of the world’s most bankable blockbuster stars. But his forays into dramatic territory over the years have mostly misfired.
5. There’s no denying his charisma, but Sidney Poitier he ain’t. All the way back to and including Ali (despite the Oscar nomination) there’s just always something that doesn’t click. Try as he might, he has just never managed to shake the Fresh Prince.
5.He was mad to turn down Independence Day 2, even if it was tripe.
6. Lots of fine actors slumming it in the supporting cast, in particular the enormously likeable Michael Peña. Catch him next year in a comedy reboot of CHiPs (yes, as Pancho) and also Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express.
8. But we’ll watch Helen Mirren in anything.
Verdict: Cinematic Diabetes
Release date: December 30