There are at least two pretty good movies crammed into Hancock, and, just for good measure, one really lousy one. Loud and broad and schizoid, Hancock is exactly what you'd expect to get if you locked 14 arguing screenwriters in a room and didn't let 'em out until they wrote something, anything, that could star Will Smith and be released over the Fourth of July weekend.

The first movie in Hancock is a comic deconstruction of the superhero, which, sure, is old news for comic books (Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns started breaking down the genre in 1986), but sort of new for movies: Other than The Incredibles, there haven't been a lot of postmodern superhero flicks to cleanse the palette between ever-so-earnest installments of Spider-Man. So the first Hancock, which features Smith as a boozy, vulgar, self-loathing superhero, is a lot of fun: With sillier and better action than Superman Returns ever offered, the loveable-despite-himself Hancock swerves through the air, throws wiseass little kids into space, and, when an angry citizen complains she can smell liquor on his breath, tells her why: "I've been drinkin', bitch!"

Then the second movie kicks in: Hancock rescues Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman, revisiting his exact same character from Arrested Development), a bleeding-heart PR guy who vows to remake Hancock's troubled image. So now Hancock is one of Smith's buddy comedies, like Hitch or Men in Black—which is fine, I guess.

And then the third: Hancock learns his origins (they don't make much sense), finds a fellow superhero (who makes even less sense), and fights a hastily introduced villain (who makes the least sense of all). Here Hancock becomes weirdly solemn and morose, as Hancock loses his edge, Bateman is shoved offstage, and half-assed backstories start clashing. By its end credits, Hancock has mashed up satire and action and fantasy to such a degree that it all feels like self-parody, and at the end of the day, I honestly don't even know what to call it, other than something that probably seemed like a good idea at the time.