- Collateral Beauty
- Written by
- Allan Loeb
- Directed by
- David Frankel
- Will Smith, Edward Norton and Helen Mirren
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.
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.