What is it?: A holiday feelgood movie that doesn't make you feel good.
What's with the title?: Dunno. Possibly the cumulative weight of various internal organs.
Summary: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, schmaltzy music, yadda yadda yadda. It's Magnificent Obsession crossed with Pay it Forward. Pretty awful.
This movie suffers from many things. Poor script, derivative plot, nondescript characters, a few implausiblities. But what killed it is a device that I have despised for many years: The Dead Wife. Everytime I see it used, I imagine something like this exchange between the screenwriters:
Writer 1: "Y'know, I just don't have time to give this script justice. The characters are undeveloped, the plot is full of holes. This guy...he's a self-absorbed douche. I mean, how could any moviegoer possibly relate to him in any way?"
Writer 2: "Just throw in a Dead Wife. Works every time. People will be so busy crying, they won't notice the dodgy ending we've got for this thing."
Writer 3: "Done. Let's play some golf."
Other movies that have fallen prey to Dead Wife Syndrome: Photographing Fairies, The Mothman Prophecies, Good Will Hunting.
The Dead Wife worked in The Prestige for a very special reason: A Dead Wife was not the character's primary motivation. Any need to avenge his wife's death was quickly overtaken by ego, stubborness, and greed. That's how you do it.
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