Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Delivery Man is good-hearted but uneven.

by | November 21, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got teenage warriors (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) and a prolific sperm donor (Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn and Cobie Smulders). What do the critics have to say?

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Catching fire is right — critics say the second installment of The Hunger Games is bigger and better than its predecessor in virtually every way, from the outstanding performances from its committed cast to its impeccable set design to a palpable sense of dread and urgency that imbues the material with more gravitas than your average blockbuster franchise. After winning the Hunger Games in part one, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have become wildly popular figures for the nation’s beleaguered underclass. Fearing that revolution is nigh, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) contrives a plan: the two young champions will have to compete against an all-star lineup of past Hunger Games victors. The pundits say the Certified Fresh The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is energetic, thoughtful, and tense, and at its center is Lawrence, whose commanding performance solidifies her status as one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars. (Watch our video interviews with the stars of Catching Fire; click through our gallery of movies based on young adult novels; and read this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Sutherland’s best-reviewed movies.)

Delivery Man


Vince Vaughn has made a career out of playing charming, mischievous bros, and critics say he’s in fine form in Delivery Man. Unfortunately, they also note that the rest of the film is a bit uneven, as its wacky premise and sentimental execution result in an uneasy mix. Vaughn stars as a committed slacker whose life spins out of control when he discovers that as a result of decades-old sperm donations, he’s the father of more than 500 children. Does our hero have what it takes to man up and be a father figure to his biological offspring? The pundits say Delivery Man is sweet and affable, but it’s only occasionally as funny and heart-tugging as it’s trying to be. (Check out our video interview with Vaughn here.)

Also opening this week in limited release: