Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Thor is Certified Fresh

Plus, Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom are both marital mishaps.

by | May 6, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a mighty Norse god (Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman), a love triangle (Something Borrowed, starring Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin), and wedding bell blues (Jumping the Broom, starring Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine). What do the critics have to say?


Blockbuster time! Now that summer’s here, all we need is a good superhero movie to kick things off in grand style. And critics say we’ve got one with Thor, a robust, thrilling adventure with smarts and sly laughs. Chris Hemsworth stars as the God of Thunder, who’s been exiled from Asgard after heedlessly starting a war. Bannished to Earth (and sans his superpowers), this legendary Norseman must learn humility – and defend humanity against the evildoers from his realm. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Thor may not occupy the first tier of Marvel movies, but Hemsworth makes for a compelling hero, and director Kenneth Branagh brings both panache and a sense of fun to the proceedings. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down memorable Viking movies.)

Something Borrowed

For a romantic comedy to succeed, one needs to truly care about the characters. It sounds simple, but it’s harder to pull off, and critics say Something Borrowed falters because it can’t get at the humanity beneath its farcical premise. The movie stars Ginnifer Goodwin as a sweet young woman who’s just started an affair with the guy she’s had a crush on since forever. One problem: he’s engaged to her best friend (Kate Hudson). Can our heroine save her friendship and keep the object of her affection without ruffling feathers? The pundits say Something Borrowed never delves into the moral dilemma its setup promises, and instead focuses on bland characterizations and predictable genre elements at the expense of relatable human behavior.

Jumping the Broom

We’re in the midst of wedding season, so it’s no surprise to see a wedding comedy hitting theaters. But while critics say Jumping the Broom has some strong performances and moments of sweetness, it’s unfortunately bogged down in clichés and an overabundance of subplots. The plot: two families gather in Martha’s Vineyard for a wedding — the bride is from an affluent clan, while the groom’s family is blue collar — and friction quickly becomes the order of the day. Can everyone agree to put conflict on the back burner for the sake of our couple? The pundits say Broom benefits from strong performances (particularly Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine as the family matriarchs) and some vigorous laughs, but unfortunately it’s too long – and its plot is too overstuffed — to work as a breezy comedy of manners.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Caterpillar, a drama about a soldier’s psychological descent after returning home from the second Sino-Japanese War, is at 100 percent.
  • Hobo With a Shotgun, starring starring Rutger Hauer as a hobo with a shotgun, is at 83 percent (check out Hauer’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • Forks Over Knives, a documentary that asks whether a diet free of processed and meat based-foods is healthier, is at 83 percent.
  • Harvest, a naturalistic portrait of a family that’s dealing with health problems and personal issues, is at 80 percent.
  • Octubre, a dark comedy about an emotionally distant man who finds himself caring for a baby, is at 67 percent.
  • The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster in the tale of a troubled man who finds solace by communicating with a beaver puppet, is at 69 percent.
  • Last Night, starring Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington as a married couple whose relationship may give way to temptation, is at 47 percent.
  • Daydream Nation, starring Kat Dennings and Josh Lucas in a dramedy about a girl who moves to a new school and falls for her youthful teacher, is at 44 percent.
  • There Be Dragons, a historical drama about the founding of Opus Dei, is at 20 percent.
  • An Invisible Sign, starring Jessica Alba as a socially awkward young woman who becomes a math teacher to connect with the outside world, is at zero percent.
  • Passion Play, starring Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox in a neo noir about a jazz musician who gets in over his head with both a beautiful woman and the mob, is at zero percent.

Finally, props to Adam P. for coming the closest guessing Dylan Dog: Dead of Night‘s five percent Tomatometer.

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