Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: "United 93" Is Best-Reviewed Drama of 2006

by | April 27, 2006 | Comments

This week we have "United 93," a somber movie about 9/11. We also have lighter fare in "RV," "Stick It" and "Akeelah." What do the critics have to say?

Is it too soon for the studios to make movies about the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001? Directed by Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday) with a cast of unknowns, "United 93" re-enacts the hijacking of United Airlines flight 93 and its eventual crash into a field in Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board. Critics say, while difficult to watch, "United 93" is made with skill and treats the subject matter with respect, never resorting to the aggrandizement Hollywood is known for. As of this writing, "United 93" is Certified Fresh with a Tomatometer reading of 93%, the best-reviewed drama of 2006 for movies with at least 50 reviews.

If you’ve been to a Starbucks lately, you’ll notice that you’re seeing more on the walls and chalkboards than art decor and beverage suggestions. It’s hard to miss those "Akeelah and the Bee" note cards and stickers. That’s because besides making caffeinated beverages, Starbucks is dabbling in movies as well. The movie centers on Akeelah who, through the tutelage of a mentor played by Laurence Fishburne, rises above the odds to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee contest. Despite its predictability, "Akeelah" is doing quite well with the critics, scoring 84% on the Tomatometer. Critics say its star Keke Palmer‘s winning performance makes it easy to forgive the film’s flaws.

If "Stick It" does well at the box office, will we see the writer of "Bring It On" pen a movie about sychronized swimming? For all we know, that script is probably done, just waiting for a greenlight from studio execs. While that movie may hold promise, "Stick It" fails to score well with the critics with a reading of 21% on the Tomatometer. Filled with teen speak and shopworn cliches, the movie may appeal to teenage mallrats, they say.

In Robin Williams‘ latest comedy "RV," his family dreads the prospect of taking an extended road trip with him in a Winnebago, and with a reading of 32% on the Tomatometer, so do the critics. The reason? The movie’s not that funny. While "RV" does have the occasional chuckle, it’s a mediocre effort at best.

Notable Paul Greengrass Movies:
81% — The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
91% — Bloody Sunday (2002)
59% — The Theory of Flight (1998)

Recent movies about the Spelling Bee:
41% — Bee Season (2005)
98% — Spellbound (2003)