NEW YORK (CNS) — More than most heist movies, the flimsy crime drama “Focus” (Warner Bros.) glamorizes wrongdoing. Add to that the lax sexual morals and gritty vocabulary of its characters, and the resulting package can be considered suitable for very few.
Directors and co-writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s slick little jaunt through the underworld gets rolling when small-time swindler Jess (Margot Robbie) tries to extort money from a stranger she picks up in a bar. But her ill-chosen victim, Nicky (Will Smith), turns out to be an inveterate and accomplished con man who merely laughs off Jess’ amateurish scheme.
Recognizing Nicky’s superior gifts, Jess begs him to bring her into his gang and, after some hesitation, he agrees. But romance — needless to say, the two fall for each other — and robbery make for a volatile mix, leading to a variety of personal and professional conflicts.
Jess and Nicky eventually become entangled with sleazy car racing big shot Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro), who’s just as corrupt as they are. But their earlier targets are ordinary tourists out for a good time at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Though some of these are unfaithful husbands whose ethical lapses make them vulnerable, all of those on whom Jess and Nicky prey are implicitly portrayed, in the frequently trite script, as suckers who deserve what they get.
This fundamentally flawed outlook is accompanied by the occasional interlude of raunchy humor, taken-for-granted premarital physicality and a carpet-bombing campaign of expletives. As a result, not only the young and impressionable but even many grown moviegoers would be well advised to fix their focus elsewhere.
The film contains distorted values requiring mature discernment, brief scenes of semi-graphic sexual activity, adulterous situations, several uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103