Making the Grades
Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) is a public relations consultant who wants to make a difference in the world. His vision is to reward an All Hearts symbol to companies who give away life-sustaining products to the needy. He eventually hopes to build a conglomerate of these charitable organizations that will impact society in positive ways. Unfortunately, he soon discovers that most businesses prefer to give charity that doesn't bear on their bottom line.
Ray's immediate focus changes, however, after he is remarkably spared from death by Los Angeles' own drunken and disorderly superhero. Hancock (Will Smith), who is rarely sober, causes the city millions of dollars in collateral damage every time he steps in to avert a disaster or help the police apprehend a bad guy. With a long list of infractions added to his public destruction, Hancock is the city's most notorious citizen despite his supernatural abilities.
Ray sees a chance to change the public's perception by volunteering to be Hancock's personal publicist. But corralling the out-of-control do-gooder and refining his approach to crime fighting proves to be a nightmare even after Hancock agrees to serve time for his offenses.
Confining this film's content to a MPAA PG-13 rating appears to be a problem too. A barrage of profanities and scatological slang along with a sexual expletive and hand gesture pepper the script. Hancock's dependence on the bottle plays out on the screen, along with the depiction of another drunken character. The superhero's wanton disregard for personal property and the city's infrastructure results in the nearly constant demolition of office towers, homes and vehicles. In addition, there are frequent car crashes, gunfire exchanges, and bodies thrown through windows and walls. Using his super strength, Hancock also manages to insert a man's head into the buttocks of another inmate. Bloody chest wounds, the severing of a man's hand and the stabbing of a hospital patient prove to be some of the movie's more gruesome portrayals.
While in reality image consulting has its ups and downs, the movie portrays Hancock's agent dealing with more than his fair share of turbulence caused by bad press. Fortunately Ray has the ability to see the good in others and his persistence begins to pay off -- but not before his own wife (Charlize Theron) and son (Jae Head) are caught in the criminal crossfire.
However, the desire to keep their own kids safe from this exchange of flying profanities and superfluous superhero violence may be more important to audience parents, who'll find reasons enough to leave Hancock hanging out to dry.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Hancock.
Although action films frequently depict scenes of property damage and car crashes, rarely is the cost ever addressed. This film is one of the few that makes mention of the price of cleaning up. Why are consequences often overlooked in movies?
Who is the hero in this film? What risks does Ray take in order to reform Hancock? What other gambles does he take with his All Heart project? Is it easier to jump on the bandwagon rather than to be an initiator of change?
What is the importance of personal history? What might happen when a person has no sense of his or her heritage or identity?