Collateral Beauty

Rated 3.0

When a grieving father (Will Smith) remains almost catatonic two years after his daughter’s death, his friends and business partners (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Peña) resort to desperate measures. To say more would be spoiling things (the movie’s trailer is a masterpiece of misdirection). Suffice to say this would-be tearjerker from writer Alan Loeb and director David Frankel is too slick and pat by half; its symmetrical smoothness is its own worst enemy. Heartstrings resist such clearly calculated tugging; good tearjerkers tend to be a bit more messy. Still, it’s a diverting-enough anecdote, well-acted by an aristocratic cast: Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Jacob Latimore and Naomie Harris are also along. The most interesting performance is a cameo by Ann Dowd as an unorthodox private eye. J.L.