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Collateral Beauty is a tear-jerker that will appeal to sentimentalists

Will Smith as Howard in the New Line Cinemas, Village Roadshow Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures drama "COLLATERAL BEAUTY," a Warner Bros Pictures release.

Barry Wetcher/Barry Wetcher

2 out of 4 stars

Title
Collateral Beauty
Written by
Allan Loeb
Directed by
David Frankel
Starring
Will Smith, Edward Norton and Helen Mirren
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English

Perhaps inspired by A Christmas Carol, the tear-jerking and star-studded Collateral Beauty will appeal to sentimentalists and suckers for platitudes, while those with more discerning tastes will wonder what the Dickens this film is trying to say.

Will Smith is Howard, a philosophic, hyper-charismatic advertising executive who falls into a deep depression when his young daughter dies.

He deals with the grief by perilously riding a bicycle around Manhattan and posting therapeutic letters to what he sees as life's interlocking constants: time, love and death.

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To his surprise, the three abstract concepts (played by Jacob Latimore, Keira Knightley and an excellent Helen Mirren) answer him.

There's some cleverness to the film's structure, but some of the comic-caper moments are out of whack with the film's otherwise anguished tone.

A domino-effect metaphor goes nowhere, and what is the silver lining – the collateral beauty – to the death of a child?

Scriptwriter Allan Loeb, the man behind more than one Kevin James vehicle, attempts Christmastime magic à la Miracle on 34th Street, but ends up conjuring Maudlin on Madison Avenue instead.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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