Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: No Strings Attached Is A Little Frayed

Plus, The Way Back is Certified Fresh.

by | January 21, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got friends with benefits (No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher) and a great escape (The Way Back, starring Ed Harris and Colin Farrell). What do the critics have to say?


No Strings Attached

Once in a while a romantic comedy will come along and represent the messiness of the contemporary dating scene. Most of the time, however, we get movies with a little bit of insight and a lot of contrivance. Critics say No Strings Attached falls into the latter category, with moments of warmth and sweetness that are spoiled by a predictable narrative and a dirty mind. Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher star as acquaintances who, after a one night stand, decide to become friends with benefits, thereby presumably avoiding the confusion and jealousy that would surely come with a committed, monogamous relationship. But are things really that simple? Will these crazy kids become a real couple — or lose their friendship? The pundits say Portman and Kutcher keep things genial and easygoing, but they’re let down by a middling script that shoehorns in a little too much raunchy material.


The Way Back

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Peter Weir — his last film to hit multiplexes was Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World way back in 2003. So it’s nice to report that he hasn’t lost his ability to make epic survival stories; critics say The Way Back is the kind of masterfully shot, stately-paced epic that rarely gets made anymore. Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, and Ed Harris star as three escapees of a Soviet gulag who undertake a treacherous journey for freedom. The pundits say the Certified Fresh The Way Back is evocative and compelling, and if it doesn’t get under the skins of its protagonists, it’s still an excellent old-school adventure yarn. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Farrell’s best-reviewed movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Woodmans, a documentary about a troubled family of great artists, is at 100 percent.
  • Applause, about an actress recovering from alcoholism while starring in a performance of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe, is at 86 percent.
  • Johnny Mad Dog, a drama about child soldiers fighting in an unnamed African country, is at 81 percent.
  • The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones in the tale of a couple of guys facing corporate downsizing, is at 76 percent.
  • Mumbai Diaries, an indie drama about four of the city’s residents whose lives intersect, is at 73 percent.
  • The Housemaid, a remake of the classic 1960 drama about a domestic who gets caught up in the dark doings of a prosperous family, is at 64 percent.

  • Zenith, a dystopian sci-fi mind-bender about a man who attempts to break free of society’s rigid conformity, is at 43 percent.

Tag Cloud

what to watch Trailer Premiere Dates Infographic sitcom cats NYCC Comedy Central E! romance biography TIFF Pop Food Network AMC GLAAD serial killer Freeform E3 CBS Mindy Kaling boxoffice Superheroes Winners Esquire Awards Sci-Fi A&E Warner Bros. Dark Horse Comics 007 X-Men IFC FXX Fox News historical drama Character Guide Spring TV Interview Ghostbusters DirecTV Polls and Games harry potter Fall TV BET Certified Fresh Star Wars aliens Marvel DC Universe Grammys Winter TV The Arrangement Marathons Tomatazos Disney Best and Worst Nickelodeon WGN MTV adventure discovery CNN Country Mystery Paramount Universal Sundance Music Video Games ABC 2015 Crackle Election supernatural RT History GIFs Extras CMT based on movie Star Trek Musical APB Set visit Lifetime TV Land Teen Netflix sports GoT Ellie Kemper comiccon Podcast Schedule Sneak Peek Calendar Hulu LGBTQ Showtime Pirates Masterpiece TCM Action American Society of Cinematographers ESPN period drama VICE PaleyFest Adult Swim Countdown Musicals composers BBC America Mary Tyler Moore History Tumblr Syfy Watching Series TNT science fiction 24 frames Opinion Fantasy dramedy 45 war zombie Animation Photos political drama travel FOX Horror talk show Amazon cinemax NBC Drama Disney Channel Holidays Red Carpet Writers Guild of America First Look President TruTV Comedy cooking singing competition FX Kids & Family Reality TCA 2017 Super Bowl Lionsgate VH1 Martial Arts El Rey Rocky TCA Logo Nominations police drama MSNBC 2017 Oscars HBO TBS Biopics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Valentine's Day Bravo Summer Rom-Com SDCC docudrama Comic Book TLC Box Office cops Emmys 2016 Trivia USA BBC PBS Nat Geo vampires ABC Family ITV SundanceTV OWN transformers Cosplay crime CBS All Access TV The CW Thanksgiving psycho Toys crime thriller Starz technology social media thriller Cartoon Network Year in Review diversity DC Comics crime drama YA Rock politics Reality Competition