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

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