Will Smith: Overrated or Underrated?

Want your blockbuster to cross the 100-million dollar mark? There are few surer bets you can make than casting Will Smith. May 31st will put the Fresh Prince to an all-new test: resurrecting the career of one-time hot ticket writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, whose cachet has so diminished that his name has been (very deliberately) all but obliterated from the marketing campaign for the sci-fi action film After Earth.

That makes this the perfect time to take the pulse of Smith’s career, which can at the very least be labeled spectacular without fear of overstatement. Let’s have Movie Irv give us the rap on one of Philly’s favorite sons:

Smith’s name is currently attached to 37 projects as actor, producer, or both. He is no longer “just” a superstar…but, where’s the beef? The risk? The complexity? Smith passed on playing the title role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained–was that a bad move, or just the latest canny decision in successfully managing his uniquely powerful “crossover” appeal? You tell us.