Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: A Sad "Happily"; A Messy "Cleaner"; Inspiring "Writers"; and Powerful "Men"

by | January 4, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a postmodern fairy tale ("Happily N’Ever After," with voicework from Sigourney Weaver and Sarah Michelle Gellar), a wacky conspiracy caper ("Code Name: The Cleaner," starring Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu), a committed teacher ("Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank), and a chilling dystopia ("Children of Men," starring Clive Owen and Michael Caine). What do the critics have to say?

Once upon a time, in the land of make-believe (better known as Hollywood), there was a brand new formula for making dazzling kiddie movies. It was called CG, and children all over the world rejoiced when such fare as "Toy Story" and "Shrek" hit the theaters. But then an evil curse plagued the land, as a string of mediocre stories threatened to make CG stale. The latest: "Happily N’Ever After," a postmodern "Cinderella" spoof. Critics say this is a pretty charm-free affair, with less-than-dazzling images and a bland storyline. At six percent on the Tomatometer, this is a pretty grim fairy tale. And among CG features, only "Doogal," at five percent, is lower-rated.

"Sure, magic will do the dishes, but can it make my movie funny?"

Cedric the Entertainer is a funny guy, and as a supporting player he’s stolen scenes in everything from "Lemony Snicket" to "Be Cool." Sadly, he’s yet to have a starring vehicle that has utilized his comedic talents to the fullest, and it appears "Code Name: The Cleaner" is no exception. In this action/comedy, Cedric plays a janitor who stumbles into the middle of a government conspiracy, from which he tries to extricate himself with the help of Lucy Liu. The critics say the weak script does none of the actors any favors, playing up absurd thriller elements to leaden effect. At a big fat zero percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s in dire need of a "Clean-" up.

"Yes, I’ve always enjoyed the sophisticated yet robust taste of Xtreme Fruit Skittles."

Liberal and conservative education experts both have it wrong. What our inner city schools need is neither greater funding nor vouchers. In order to save the impoverished students of America, we need an unconventional, no-nonsense teacher to instruct students in ballroom dance, football, or poetry, preferably in the guise of Antonio Banderas, The Rock, or Michelle Pfeiffer. In "Freedom Writers," Hilary Swank plays a fresh-faced teacher who gets her students in touch with their creative writing side, and — wonder of wonders — it’s getting reasonably good reviews. The critics say the film may be clichéd, but it’s earnest and features strong performances. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer, this may be one to "Write" home about.

"Remember, Bagels for Complacency Day is next week."

Director Alfonso Cuaron may have made his best movie yet with "Children of Men," continuing a hot streak that began with "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." This time, Cuaron has envisioned a world where women have become infertile and every country has become a dystopia or slipped into a fascist state. At 92 percent on the Tomatometer, critics are praising not only the film’s technical aspects (including seamless CG work, fluid camerawork, and complex battle scenes), but also the emotional story and performances.

"Any fool knows a dog needs a home and shelter from pigs on the wing."

Also opening this week in limited release is "Thr3e," a psychological serial killer flick with a spiritual twist, which is currently at 17 percent.

Alex Vo contributed to this article.

Recent CG Animated Films:
77% — Happy Feet (2006)
76% — Flushed Away (2006)
41% — Everyone’s Hero (2006)
76% — Cars (2006)
64% — The Ant Bully (2006)

Recent Hilary Swank Movies:
36% — The Black Dahlia (2006)
92% — Million Dollar Baby (2004)
100% — 11:14 (2003)
42% — The Core (2003)
92% — Insomnia (2002)

Recent Cedric the Entertainer Movies:
81% — Charlotte’s Web (2006)
14% — Honeymooners (2005)
55% — Madagascar (2005)
29% — Be Cool (2005)
9% — Man of the House (2005)

Recent Clive Owen Movies:
88% — Inside Man (2006)
21% — Derailed (2005)
77% — Sin City (2005)
68% — Closer (2004)
29% — King Arthur (2004)

Tag Cloud

Television Academy 45 elevated horror Infographic GoT sports Box Office Quiz 2019 DC Universe natural history OWN crime Television Critics Association RT History spinoff IFC VICE festivals satire animated asian-american Calendar comic Apple streaming twilight spider-man robots joker Opinion facebook dramedy Logo golden globes psycho versus Apple TV+ Masterpiece hist DGA Christmas Syfy Awards YouTube disaster PaleyFest composers AMC TCM FOX what to watch breaking bad Creative Arts Emmys Discovery Channel romantic comedy Britbox Acorn TV Comics on TV TCA Winter 2020 Tubi Mary Poppins Returns ABC Family FXX casting Spring TV Pride Month 2017 police drama Trophy Talk Tomatazos Paramount Network Spectrum Originals documentaries Nickelodeon Sundance criterion Valentine's Day NYCC Elton John 21st Century Fox Horror Super Bowl dogs BBC One FX on Hulu Netflix Countdown Chilling Adventures of Sabrina space reviews travel social media 2020 cancelled television halloween Adult Swim FX Endgame kids films Family BBC America diversity Tarantino nature die hard concert Mary poppins renewed TV shows Character Guide south america Disney spy thriller Hallmark Certified Fresh Interview Summer Fall TV latino historical drama 2018 GLAAD Cosplay discovery Spike A&E Toys news Mindy Kaling rotten movies we love Rocketman Disney Channel HBO WarnerMedia New York Comic Con Esquire Nominations cooking mutant anthology Year in Review true crime The CW Election canceled TV shows Academy Awards The Purge sequel CMT Turner Classic Movies Martial Arts Ovation CBS Peacock aliens teaser dragons Ghostbusters Action Comic Book TIFF Anna Paquin American Society of Cinematographers TruTV Pixar YA Epix movie Bravo Grammys First Reviews Heroines Set visit miniseries Superheroe TV Land Musical 71st Emmy Awards stoner foreign Musicals finale Tumblr television batman Podcast Travel Channel USA medical drama Rom-Com Paramount zombie series comedies Amazon crime thriller toy story Reality directors Mystery doctor who Brie Larson politics VH1 independent Shudder movies free movies TCA Awards science fiction blaxploitation 4/20 game of thrones 24 frames indiana jones spain best Sci-Fi comics tv talk Marvel Studios Fantasy Awards Tour See It Skip It Writers Guild of America Disney streaming service critics Trailer Hulu LGBTQ DC streaming service Nat Geo Schedule adaptation Apple TV Plus richard e. Grant Pirates Arrowverse scary movies BBC Sneak Peek parents Comedy Central a nightmare on elm street Watching Series Best and Worst cats quibi binge Dark Horse Comics strong female leads Lucasfilm CNN 2015 Classic Film Shondaland Binge Guide Turner Crunchyroll Freeform crossover Comedy child's play Red Carpet PBS Kids & Family name the review NBC The Arrangement RT21 APB SundanceTV theme song Emmys TNT chucky spanish language VOD Columbia Pictures E! revenge X-Men Film Marvel Star Wars Biopics christmas movies cinemax singing competition CBS All Access psychological thriller Superheroes Fox News Lifetime Christmas movies sag awards Netflix Christmas movies Holidays based on movie Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt screen actors guild talk show 2016 Lifetime Star Trek dceu Amazon Studios TCA 2017 Extras cartoon Pop stand-up comedy dark President justice league crime drama Trivia jamie lee curtis Song of Ice and Fire green book YouTube Red period drama romance ABC Rock Pet Sematary Film Festival witnail comiccon Sundance Now Black Mirror Thanksgiving mission: impossible ghosts Photos transformers cancelled MCU DirecTV SDCC Music Winners BAFTA cars The Witch HBO Go Disney+ Disney Plus indie Teen Premiere Dates SXSW harry potter National Geographic Starz award winner Baby Yoda franchise ESPN Country boxoffice MTV BET serial killer cancelled TV shows Captain marvel Western HBO Max book The Walking Dead adventure Amazon Prime MSNBC Marvel Television canceled Drama ITV Oscars Walt Disney Pictures A24 video on demand Marathons video children's TV zombies TCA cancelled TV series Reality Competition Crackle blockbuster El Rey Emmy Nominations Universal mockumentary reboot docudrama anime PlayStation TV renewals TBS Amazon Prime Video unscripted Hear Us Out universal monsters Sundance TV political drama Ellie Kemper Showtime Cartoon Network hispanic Food Network Funimation slashers Sony Pictures OneApp screenings game show dc zero dark thirty Warner Bros. Disney Plus Women's History Month Holiday cults 007 DC Comics Rocky Stephen King E3 Animation Avengers Lionsgate CW Seed Pop TV ratings all-time Cannes BET Awards Video Games supernatural Mary Tyler Moore USA Network Vudu biography werewolf TV TLC San Diego Comic-Con History First Look vampires sitcom documentary Mudbound technology GIFs YouTube Premium Chernobyl 20th Century Fox WGN LGBT Polls and Games Black History Month Hallmark Christmas movies Winter TV war cops thriller IFC Films