“Hancock”

REVIEW This summer’s obligatory Will Smith blockbuster has the ever-bankable star playing the titular role in Hancock — a foul-mouthed antihero apt to fly into action while clenching a bottle of whiskey. Though this reluctant superman of unclear origins consistently puts bad guys behind bars, the citizens of Los Angeles are none too thrilled when he arrives on the scene; Hancock’s chaotic brand of crime fighting has been taking a devastating toll on the city’s roads, buildings, ice cream trucks, and beached whales. That is, of course, until he saves the life of Ray (Jason Bateman), an idealistic public relations executive who decides to help Hancock revamp his image. Smith has the kind of charisma that can make even the most poorly-written shlock at least somewhat bearable. This time around, he doesn’t have to work as hard; Hancock is teeming with the fast-paced action and destruction that we seem to crave during the summer months. Plus, it’s surprisingly funny. As you might expect, Smith brings the bulk of the laughter but Bateman exceeds his straight-man role with his playfully wry delivery. Yes, the story is predictable and there is an annoyingly telegraphed "twist" involving Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron), but Smith’s foray into superhero movies manages to entertain. For those keeping track, Hancock is no Men in Black (1997). Thankfully, though, it’s no Wild Wild West (1999) either.

HANCOCK opens Wed/2 in Bay Area theaters.