Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Is a Solid Thriller

Plus, The Nut Job, Ride Along, and Devil's Due miss the mark.

by | January 16, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a super spy (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, starring Chris Pine and Keira Knightley), some burglarizing rodents (The Nut Job, with voice performances by Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl), mismatched cops (Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart), and a demonic baby (Devil’s Due, starring Allison Miller and Zach Gilford). What do the critics have to say?



Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

56%

Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck have all taken their best shot; now it’s Chris Pine’s turn to play Jack Ryan, the talented CIA agent from Tom Clancy’s bestselling novels. And critics say he’s off to a good start, as Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, while hardly the most original thriller on the market, is slick, exciting, and well-acted. Inspired to serve his country after 9/11, Jack Ryan joins the Marines. After being injured in Afghanistan, Ryan is recruited in the CIA, and soon he’s on the trail of a Russian terrorist plot. The pundits say Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is a solid meat-and-potatoes thriller, one that’s skillfully crafted and pleasantly suspenseful. (Check out this week’s total recall, in which we count down director Kenneth Branagh’s best-reviewed films.)



The Nut Job

10%

From Steamboat Willie to Ratatouille, there have been plenty of iconic animated rodents. Unfortunately, Surly the squirrel is unlikely to join that illustrious pantheon; critics say The Nut Job has some nice backgrounds but its plot is threadbare and its star is less than charming. Surly (voiced by Will Arnett) has devised a plan to rob a nut store and make off with enough food to last through the winter. Can Surly learn a valuable lesson about greed — and become a hero in the process? The pundits say The Nut Job is overly reliant on physical humor, and its characters are surprisingly sour, though there are some moments of visual invention.



Ride Along

19%

At first glance, scowling, no-nonsense Ice Cube and hustling, motormouthed Kevin Hart would seem to be an ideal comedic pairing. Unfortunately, critics say they’re underutilized in Ride Along, a thinly plotted, utterly generic cop-buddy action comedy. Hard-nosed detective James (Ice Cube) is less than pleased that his sister is dating a slacker like Ben (Hart). When Ben is accepted to the police force, he hopes to win James’ respect by joining him on the beat. The pundits say Ride Along offers up a few laughs, but mostly it coasts along on cop movie cliches. Click through this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of movie cops.)



Devil’s Due

18%

Sooner or later, the found-footage horror subgenre was bound to get its own Rosemary’s Baby. But while critics say Devil’s Due is moderately well crafted, they also note that it’s more dependent on jump-scares than on more imaginative chills. Samantha (Allison Miller) and Zach (Zach Gilford) are preparing to welcome their first child together when Samantha’s behavior begins to take on a sinister tone; could it be that she’s been impregnated by a malevolent spirit? The pundits say Devil’s Due features decent performances, but its plot becomes increasingly absurd as it goes along.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Big Bad Wolves, a revenge thriller about a cop who tries to extract a confession from the man he believes to be the killer of a young girl, is at 79 percent.
  • Hirokazu Koreeda‘s Like Father, Like Son, a drama about two families dealing with the discovery that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth, is at 79 percent.
  • Maidentrip, a documentary about a 14-year-old’s attempt to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe, is at 78 percent.
  • G.B.F., a comedy about a guy who’s got a group of popular girls battling for the right to call him their gay best friend, is at 77 percent.
  • Generation War, a drama about five German friends dealing with the moral complications of life during the Third Reich, is at 45 percent.
  • Summer in February, starring Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens in a period drama about two close friends in love with the same woman, is at 41 percent.
  • Jamesy Boy, starring Ving Rhames and Mary-Louise Parker in a drama about a young convict who attempts to turn his life around, is at 13 percent.

Finally, props to Garner Montgomery for coming the closest to guessing The Legend of Hercules‘ five percent Tomatometer. That’s two in a row for Mr. Montgomery.

Tag Cloud

TCM A&E SDCC CBS All Access Freeform science fiction PaleyFest Trailer docudrama DirecTV Showtime comiccon FX DC Comics Opinion Drama Fantasy Horror Photos Set visit Star Wars Red Carpet Crackle Logo Comedy Central FXX GoT USA sitcom singing competition Music TNT GIFs Animation Oscars Syfy Sundance Nat Geo ITV HBO BBC America Disney Channel TV Land MTV 007 BET CBS NBC Character Guide cooking Infographic Video Games CMT LGBTQ Mystery Comedy Esquire cinemax Pop crime thriller Winners Polls and Games Lionsgate travel Biopics Premiere Dates Grammys Thanksgiving VICE TruTV Masterpiece Tomatazos Rom-Com Rocky Emmys Adult Swim Election Nickelodeon AMC E! politics Amazon Hulu First Look Fox News IFC Ghostbusters Bravo Exclusive Video Country Watching Series Sneak Peek harry potter Cartoon Network period drama TBS Tumblr Holidays President OWN Schedule TIFF The CW Rock diversity PBS boxoffice Writers Guild of America Certified Fresh Year in Review Interview Box Office El Rey adventure Marvel Lifetime Best and Worst VH1 thriller Reality Competition dramedy GLAAD Superheroes Countdown ABC sports Universal discovery NYCC serial killer Musicals Pirates CNN Trivia Martial Arts 2015 Sci-Fi Kids & Family ESPN Summer Spring TV Disney Valentine's Day 24 frames BBC TCA 2017 Reality American Society of Cinematographers Marathons Calendar History Extras Toys social media Food Network MSNBC vampires Nominations WGN Awards ABC Family Action Podcast Cosplay Fall TV Netflix crime drama SundanceTV FOX Winter TV 2016 TCA 2017 Starz