The Will Smith Forgiveness Tour Reaches ‘Bad Boys’ Stage
There have been many stops along the Will Smith Forgiveness Tour. First, there was July’s apology video to Chris Rock, where Smith admitted the Oscars are no place for open-handed slaps between pedestrian celebrity jokes: “Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.” (Rock’s response? “Fuck your hostage video.”)
Next, he headed off to the late-night talk shows for a little image rehab (and promotion for Emancipation while he was at it). Pro tip: Dabbing your eyes with tissue is the perfect way to tell viewers, “I’ve been doing a lot of personal work — and Jada says it’s really paying off!”
He’s made plenty of the other rounds, too — from local newscasts to national entertainment magazines, all the while proclaiming that he’s an imperfect man who’s trying to be better. He told Variety that he understands if audiences aren’t ready for his comeback. It’s as if Smith instinctively knows that there is only one thing he can offer America in exchange for its collective forgiveness: Another Bad Boys movie.
Smith is hyped, y’all! It’s about that time! In other words, it’s time to stop doing challenging award-worthy work in movies like King Richard and Emancipation and get back to what moviegoers really want from Smith — fast cars, smart-ass quips and crazy explosions. (Although is this really the week to announce a movie about cops coming down full force on the bad guys?) The previous installment in the series, Bad Boys for Life — Smith acknowledges the missed Bad Boys 4 Life opportunity — was the final blockbuster before the pandemic, raking in $426.5 million at the box office. Can we blame Bad Boys for Life for COVID? Probably not, but if we want, Smith would likely apologize for that too.
Are the sum total of Smith’s contrite efforts enough to make Rock put all of the ugliness behind them? Odds are pretty good that this isn’t over until Rock gets in a few slaps of his own, courtesy of his live Selective Outrage stand-up special next month. Get your popcorn ready ‘cause it’s just about that time.