starring Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, Brian Howe
screenplay by Steven Conrad
directed by Gabriele Muccino
by Walter Chaw They should pass out insulin plungers with the purchase of a ticket to the new Will Smith vehicle The Pursuit of Happyness, which sports a subtle tickle of plantation politics that's overwhelmed by a sense of smug entitlement and ugly elitism. Inspired by the true story of Eighties Wall Street bootstrap wizard Chris Gardner, it's a telling in a way of the Hercules legend, complete with insurmountable, fickle tasks and divine inheritance. Our mythological hero solves the Rubik's Cube in the back of a taxi for the bemused delight of potential employer Jay Twistle (Brian Howe); deals with the abandonment of his frustrated wife (Thandie Newton); and figures out a way to retrieve a pair of the bone-density scanners (the sale of which were his profession pre-Dean Witter) stolen by the homeless peers he disdains. It's true: the picture--even with its ghetto-cred misspelled title and restroom-to-boardroom fable--is intolerant of people consigned to the impoverishment the film contorts to assure us will be Chris' plight for only the time it takes his uplift to ripen.