When I saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked really good. However, as I was going into the movie, I still didn't know what I was going to be seeing. Unfortunately, I still didn't know what I was seeing until about halfway into the movie. Ben Thomas (Will Smith) is supposedly an IRS Agent going around doing a bunch of really big favors for seven different strangers, and for reasons unbeknownst to the audience. The first we meet is a blind man named Ezra (Woody Harrelson), who Ben is a complete jackass to. But then we come across Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), a young woman with congenial heart disease. The relationship between Emily and Ben builds until they become more romantically linked. But Ben still has his mysterious mission to complete, even if it's now become slightly complicated.
Let me start off by saying I thought the film was really good. I enjoyed it quite a bit. However, it tries to be too much of a mystery to the point where you really have no idea what's happening... ever. Is Ben really the douche he seemed to be within the first ten minutes? Why is he helping these strangers? How are they connected? Or are they? Is he really helping them out, or is it part of something greater? What the hell is his plan, anyway? Everything about it is spoken in such ambiguous terms, it was almost like hearing "You know that plan about that thing we talked about that one time at that place? Well, it's the next one's turn now in the process of the thing I'm doing which you know of because of our history together... you know, because we know each other from sometime back in the day." There were really moments where the movie almost felt like it was going out of its way to stay mysterious. Though the second it shows one of the first flashback glimpses of what occurred, everything snaps together and the movie becomes easier to follow. But this is two-fold, because this moment happens at the middle of the film (or so). So you've just gone through the first half of the film shrouded in confusing mystery, but now you're going through the last half of the film with everything easily figured out.
However, those were really the only issues I had, and they really didn't bother me all that much. I've read other reviews stating things like the movie is very slow moving, or it's overly sappy or whatever. I didn't have any of these issues. I felt that maybe the first 10 or 15 minutes or so were a bit confusing, especially in trying to figure out what kind of person Ben Thomas is (douche or saint?), but besides that I didn't find it slow moving at all. And there's some romance in there, and there's a lot of heartfelt moments (no pun intended) that add up, but I didn't think it was overwhelming at all.
In fact, Will Smith has shown once again that he can carry a movie. He did a very fine acting performance here. You never know what's going on in his head, but you can always tell how conflicted or sorrowful or happy or whatnot he is just by looking at his face. He really dug himself into the character. The same with Rosario Dawson, too, who really showed that pain of not being able to live her life to the fullest because of her heart condition. But the one person I want to give the shout out to here is Woody Harrelson. He's not in the movie very much, but he's always a presence in the back of your mind, and I think that says something about how he pulled off the character. I constantly wanted to see what was going to happen next with his character, and he's really only in the movie about 3 times, each time less than 5 minutes.
So besides some editing (or possibly writing) issues, I thought the movie was very good. It does tug at the emotions. It makes you happy when you're supposed to be, sad when you're supposed to be, and even uncomfortable when you're supposed to be. I think that says something about the actors and actresses, because it was really all about the acting once you got the story figured out.