Like Gardner's desire to escape the confines of his economic station, there's a better movie struggling to escape the confines of a Hollywood movie machine that values story mechanics over genuine emotion.
The Pursuit of Happyness goes beyond tugging at our heartstrings. It plucks them, strokes them, strums them, plays them for all they're worth. That's both the strength and the weakness of this inspirational drama.
At its core The Pursuit of Happyness is a good story -- one that's literally rags to riches, and didn't need the many tweaks and embellishments that Italian director Gabriele Muccino and writer Steven Conrad have added.