Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Lucky One Can't Catch a Break

Plus, Think Like a Man is elevated by a great cast, and Chimpanzee offers breathtaking footage.

by | April 20, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a picture-perfect romance (The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling), relationship advice (Think Like a Man, starring Michael Ealy and Meagan Good), and a curious little monkey (Disneynature’s Chimpanzee, narrated by Tim Allen). What do the critics have to say?

The Lucky One


At this point, we know what we’re getting from a film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel: syrupy romance and melodramatic plot twists. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that, and critics say The Lucky One has moments of escapism, but it’s ultimately hampered by an overabundance of schmaltzy clichés. Zac Efron stars as a Marine serving in Iraq who finds a photo of an unknown woman in the desert, which he carries with him until the end of his tour of duty and seems to bring him good luck. Upon returning to the States, he treks across the country to find her, and passion ensues. The pundits say The Lucky One is occasionally swoony, but it’s also seriously contrived and formulaic — in other words, it’s pretty similar to other Sparks adaptations.

Think Like a Man


Sometimes an excellent cast can elevate even the most shopworn material. Case in point: Think Like a Man, which critics say would be a pretty mediocre romantic comedy if not for the combined efforts of its players. Based upon Steve Harvey’s self-help tome Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, the film follows four guys (including Michael Ealy and Kevin Hart) whose love interests have treated them differently after reading the book. As a result, the guys decide to scour its contents for advice on how to turn the tables on the ladies (whose ranks include Meagan Good, Regina Hall, and Taraji P. Henson). The pundits say the script is pretty generic, but the actors give it their all, and the result is a pretty funny take on modern romance.



Since 2009, Disneynature has celebrated Earth Day with a feature length nature documentary. This year’s selection is Chimpanzee, and critics say it’s a remarkably intimate look at our primate friends – though it’s sometimes over reliant on heavy-handed narration. Chimpanzee is the story of Oscar, a young chimp growing up within an extended family; when things take a dark turn for the little ape, he gets support from an unexpected source. The pundits say Chimpanzee often anthropomorphizes its subjects, but the footage is so amazing — and the chimps are so cute — that you and your family probably won’t mind too much. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of cinema’s most memorable chimp movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Day He Arrives, a dramedy about a washed-up filmmaker wandering around Seoul and meeting up with old friends, is at 100 percent.
  • Marley, a documentary on the life and music of reggae’s greatest star, is at 96 percent.
  • Oki’s Movie, about a woman who documents climbing a mountain twice — each time with a different boyfriend — is at 86 percent.
  • Inside Hana’s Suitcase, a doc about the search for information regarding a mysterious suitcase delivered to the Tokyo Holocaust Museum, is at 73 percent.
  • Downtown Express, a drama about a Russian classical violinist whose life changes when he meets an attractive singer-songwriter, is at 71 percent.
  • The Eye of the Storm, starring Charlotte Rampling and Geoffrey Rush in a drama about the children of a dying woman dealing with her negative influence, is at 68 percent.
  • To the Arctic, a doc that follows a family of polar bears through a changing environment, is at 67 percent.
  • The French import Goodbye First Love, a drama about a young woman still profoundly affected by a teenage romance, is at 65 percent.
  • Fightville, a doc about the world of minor league mixed martial arts, is at 50 percent.
  • The Moth Diaries, a horror film about a grieving young woman who suspects one of her classmates is a vampire, is at 20 percent.
  • Darling Companion, starring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline in a dramedy about an aging couple who rekindle the spark in their relationship while caring for a rescued dog, is at 10 percent (check out director Lawrence Kasdan’s Five Favorite Films here).