Chris Orr hated After Earth:
Shyamalan’s involvement notwithstanding, After Earth is a vanity project of the burgeoning multinational Will Smith Inc. The movie stars Smith and his 14-year-old son, Jaden. It’s produced by Smith, his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, brother-in-law Caleeb Pinkett, and longtime friend and business partner James Lassiter. And it’s based on a story written by Smith as a vehicle for his son, one that he conceived while he and his brother-in-law were watching television together. Which is a long way of saying that it might be best to give Shyamalan a pass on this one.
Dana Stevens piles on:
In [Jaden Smith’s] defense, the kid is saddled with a task that even a more experienced actor might have trouble pulling off: He must carry an entire action movie on his slender shoulders, given little more to act opposite than a succession of green-screen predators. Even with his charismatic dad in his earpiece calling the shots, Jaden can’t turn himself into a movie star by sheer force of Will.