It's tough to imagine a movie star of Denzel Washington's stature making a credible beleaguered everyman, but Washington does it in John Q. Unlike, say, Cary Grant, who always looked like the sharpest looking dude in Hollywood even when playing "regular guys," Denzel goes out of his way to ugly himself a bit, letting his hair grow a little unruly and adding on some chunky pounds. It's not necessary in a film with as much big movie sheen as this one, but it shows Washington's dedication - a trait that leaps off the screen, commands the movie, and pulls the entire audience in.

Washington, as John Q. Archibald, is today's blueprint, American blue-collar worker. He's an experienced Chicago machinist, a proud guy only able to work part-time hours due to the lack of work. The resulting scant paychecks lead to embarrassing situations, such as the repossession of his car, leaving his wife pissed off and his young son confused. The timing with today's marketplace couldn't be better in gaining the audience's sympathies.

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