Photo Credit: Alexander Tamargo/WireImage
You know summer's here when the popcorn action flicks start rolling in! Of course Will Smith is leading the parade, with Friday's opening of After Earth. M. Night Shyamalan's latest sci-fi thriller is set on a future, dangerous version of our planet, 1,000 years after it's been evacuated by humans. Smith plays a heroic military leader who crash lands here along with his inexperienced teen son. And the son is played by ... his actual son, Jaden Smith! Watch the trailer:
If you caught their last father-son collaboration, The Pursuit of Happyness, you're reeling over how grown-up Jaden is. Smith played Christopher Gardner, a single father who became a self-made millionaire. Remember this scene from that movie?
How adorable is this kid? Back then, father and son went on an achingly cute press tour. Check out this exchange during this 2006 interview promoting the film:
The pair also appeared together on the cover of Ebony. In the accompanying story, the real-life Gardner lauded the Smiths' father-son portrayal, calling it "absolutely phenomenal." "I told Will, 'That little boy is kicking your butt!'" Gardner said.
Flash forward six years, and father and son are back on another press tour for After Earth. "I understand that you purposely try to embarrass Jaden as much as possible," Ellen DeGeneres quipped during their interview, then shoed a larger-than-life photo of Will forcing a bear hug on Jaden. Watch here:
It's not the first time Will has embarrassed his son with public displays of affection...
But now that Jaden's a teenager, the duo can rap together, and they proved it on BBC One's The Graham Norton Show...
Unfortunately, movie critics aren't as jovial about their big-screen collaboration. "Whatever the faults of 2006's The Pursuit of Happyness, that film employed the bond between the two Smiths much more effectively," wrote John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter. "Once upon a time, Hollywood parents gave their children sports cars as gifts," sniffed Manohla Dargis of The New York Times. "These days, apparently nothing less than a big-screen vanity project will do for Junior." "Shyamalan is clearly a director-for-hire here," wrote Scott Foundas of Variety. "His disinterest [is] palpable from first frame to last."
But what do Will and Jaden care? Summer blockbusters are made to please moviegoers, not reviewers. In the meantime, this father and son have forged a bond no one can threaten -- even when they're courtside at a 76ers game, being photo-bombed by a wacky sports announcer. Watch here!