Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: "Grindhouse" Is Gory Glory; "Done" Needs Fixing; "Firehouse" Is Mangy; "Reaping" Is Plagued

by | April 5, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got sleaze (Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’ "Grindhouse," starring Kurt Russell and Rose McGowan), fixer-uppers ("Are We Done Yet?," starring Ice Cube), plagues ("The Reaping," starring Hilary Swank), and pooches ("Firehouse Dog"). What do the critics have to say?

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have made careers of turning trashy material into cinematic treasure. And just like the good old days of the drive-in double feature, critics say "Grindhouse" is two schlocky treats for the price of one, albeit made with a greater level of skill than the old school-sleazemeisters. Rodriguez’ "Planet Terror," starring Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez, tells the tale of a gas that threatens to turn the world’s population into zombies, and Tarantino’s "Death Proof" stars Kurt Russell as a killer stuntman. The critics say "Grindhouse" delivers an exhilarating platter of exploitation style with wit and panache, and its makers improve upon their source material with their feral intelligence. At 87 percent on the Tomatometer, the Certified Fresh "Grindhouse" is a trashy delight. (For more on the history of exploitation cinema, check out RT’s "Grindhouse A to Z" feature.)

Two of a grind.

Ice Cube once rapped, "I’m scarin ya, wanted by America." If "Are We Done Yet?" is any indication, those days are long gone — and critics say that’s not a good thing. "Are We Done Yet?" is not only a sequel to 2005’s poorly reviewed "Are We There Yet?," it’s also a loose remake of the Cary GrantMyrna Loy comedy "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." The author of "Parental Discretion Iz Advised" plays a family man fixing up a money pit in the suburbs, and his wonderfully expressive scowl is reserved for shoddy construction and an unhinged contractor. The pundits say the film is way too safe, featuring generic slapstick and amiable but uninspired domestic foibles. At 10 percent on the Tomatometer, "Are We Done Yet?" may be aptly titled.

"No more buffets, okay?"

The latest in a storied line of cinematic Fidos, "Firehouse Dog" at least gets points for originality: it features an undercover movie-star pooch that rides skateboards and does laundry. The movie tells the tale of Rexxx, an Irish terrier who’s a hairpiece-wearing, overly pampered canine thespian who accidentally gets dumped in a small town and is adopted by, yep, the local firehouse. The "Doc Hollywood"-esque plot has promise, and some say "Firehouse Dog" is warm enough to please the little ones. But the majority of critics say the movie ruins it with endless fart and poop jokes, and an overlong run time. At 37 percent Tomatometer, this one’s strictly for the dogs.

You’re the man now, dawg!

Why, oh why, ask critics, if the Bible is so loaded with action, suspense, and miracles, have the recent glut of religious-themed dramas been so gosh-darned dull? The latest in Good Book-inspired mediocrity is "The Reaping," starring Hilary Swank as a faithless former missionary who travels the country disproving religious phenomena. But when she comes across a series of plagues in a small Louisiana town, her adherence to science is sorely tested as she tries to save the community. Critics say "The Reaping" is schlocky, spiritually shallow, and wasteful of a grade-A cast that includes David Morrissey, AnnaSophia Robb, Stephen Rea, and Idris Elba (aka Stringer Bell on "The Wire"). At six percent on the Tomatometer, "The Reaping" is an unholy mess.

"So who wants to try my jambalaya?"

Also opening this week in limited release: "The Hoax," starring Richard Gere in the true story of biography-forging Clifford Irving, is at 89 percent on the Tomatometer; "Black Book," Paul Verhoeven’s epic about a beautiful Dutch resistance fighter in WWII, is Certified Fresh at 75 percent; "The TV Set," a satire of prime time television starring David Duchovny and Sigourney Weaver, is at 60 percent; and "Whole New Thing," the story of a teenager and his crush on his English teacher, is at 44 percent.

"How ’bout we just shut down production and throw on a Mama’s Family rerun?"

Quentin Tarantino Films:
85% — Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
84% — Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
84% — Jackie Brown (1998)
96% — Pulp Fiction (1994)
95% — Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Recent Robert Rodriguez Films:
77% — Sin City (2005)
19% — The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D (2005)
45% — Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)
68% — Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
75% — Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2001)

Tag Cloud

Warner Bros. scary movies comedies National Geographic ratings Adult Swim Musical Paramount Pictures what to watch cops Television Academy comics worst Mudbound Action CMT streaming basketball period drama best hispanic heritage month revenge HBO Max Tags: Comedy talk show Biopics Writers Guild of America BET Awards FOX adenture Animation Paramount Plus Stephen King dramedy BAFTA DirecTV summer preview cults scorecard Premiere Dates zombie 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards mob Character Guide comiccon dexter telelvision crossover 90s nbcuniversal deadpool marvel comics halloween tv slasher FX on Hulu Academy Awards USA Winners Photos Universal Pictures satire Watching Series jamie lee curtis ViacomCBS Universal Elton John Family Spring TV video ABC breaking bad Best and Worst diversity ABC Signature superman streaming movies Cartoon Network Sundance TV stop motion CBS supernatural DC streaming service Starz The Academy Toys kids indie hidden camera Syfy Vudu Broadway video on demand james bond Fox News Ovation olympics 71st Emmy Awards Columbia Pictures broadcast zombies target scene in color Indigenous Infographic aapi USA Network emmy awards Sneak Peek 2020 crime drama TCA Awards blockbuster leaderboard Mary poppins Comic-Con@Home 2021 remakes trophy christmas movies Hallmark Chilling Adventures of Sabrina dark Native spider-verse doctor who anime casting Podcast San Diego Comic-Con directors harry potter Shudder Western Teen Emmy Nominations Election FXX social media Tarantino Hear Us Out new zealand independent disaster Film Festival Best Picture Cosplay reboot robots FX universal monsters Reality Competition Awards A24 dreamworks spinoff boxing Sci-Fi political drama El Rey New York Comic Con new star wars movies TIFF Valentine's Day critic resources Star Wars award winner documentaries LGBT pirates of the caribbean The Walt Disney Company Lifetime slashers foreign composers movies royal family Marvel thriller 2019 Pixar ESPN cinemax razzies Exclusive Video NBA child's play The Purge hispanic black comedy TCA 2017 99% Acorn TV richard e. Grant italian Set visit elevated horror king kong Amazon serial killer Marvel Studios YouTube Premium stoner Countdown cartoon Quiz Black History Month Kids & Family HBO Go franchise Grammys sitcom Thanksgiving Sundance toy story halloween twilight dc Calendar blaxploitation psychological thriller ITV war Apple TV+ versus kaiju LGBTQ spanish language RT21 rt labs critics edition YouTube OneApp Best Actor Comics on TV Marathons Fargo 94th Oscars die hard TV Land SXSW aliens parents TV E3 24 frames tv talk 2016 BBC America BBC One 21st Century Fox new york Ellie Kemper Turner Classic Movies sag awards Geeked Week Musicals Fall TV Baby Yoda MSNBC E! black Rocky Holiday docuseries The CW Summer Disney Plus BET fast and furious vs. joker DC Universe action-comedy Arrowverse game of thrones Peacock green book live event scene in color film series Pacific Islander finale Comedy Central 1990s 2021 Year in Review Martial Arts unscripted french VICE PlayStation See It Skip It festival ghosts golden globe awards fresh miniseries natural history spy thriller historical drama boxoffice Drama ABC Family NBC archives Super Bowl Best Actress Lionsgate rotten movies we love dceu 45 technology CBS All Access WGN suspense SDCC Freeform rotten Opinion Food Network live action RT History Paramount Network international movie saw dogs Anna Paquin TV renewals rt labs Video Games asian-american summer TV preview transformers Comedy DC Comics screenings Oscars Mindy Kaling Travel Channel Endgame TBS binge Fantasy documentary travel renewed TV shows TV One Walt Disney Pictures Turner spanish CW Seed classics Pop TV GIFs singing competition Funimation Paramount gangster Nat Geo TruTV book Interview science fiction Women's History Month Television Critics Association nature ID romance Bravo canceled PBS 73rd Emmy Awards biopic adventure obituary posters Pet Sematary Wes Anderson Creative Arts Emmys Fox Searchlight Heroines HFPA Brie Larson adaptation mission: impossible BBC popular 2015 heist movie Tumblr APB kong critics First Reviews psycho japanese Ghostbusters Nickelodeon Disney+ Disney Plus TCA south america Netflix Christmas movies CNN romantic comedy interviews women cars Discovery Channel Hollywood Foreign Press Association Extras mcc television 2018 Chernobyl a nightmare on elm street Music OWN Sony Pictures Apple streamig screen actors guild all-time TCA Winter 2020 Red Carpet Apple TV Plus nfl worst movies latino TNT Neflix cancelled TV shows Christmas Nominations stand-up comedy Comic Book game show anthology hollywood Cannes obi wan Classic Film Mary Tyler Moore politics Tomatazos YouTube Red japan cancelled justice league sopranos festivals comic book movie biography First Look laika target name the review Disney streaming service crime thriller toronto VH1 Awards Tour based on movie Schedule GoT Trophy Talk Film news American Society of Cinematographers space 79th Golden Globes Awards book adaptation Spike Disney Channel lord of the rings Showtime marvel cinematic universe History The Arrangement Polls and Games australia reviews cooking Logo monster movies golden globes Netflix criterion debate Tubi TCM 007 hist Tokyo Olympics trailers Winter TV Trivia canceled TV shows zero dark thirty art house Masterpiece Superheroe Epix sequel summer TV Pride Month blockbusters sequels IMDb TV Star Trek Holidays Captain marvel Crackle Esquire 2017 series GLAAD Disney Horror Trailer Pop AMC Plus cats high school Spectrum Originals Shondaland MTV cancelled TV series VOD Song of Ice and Fire mutant scary Pirates Avengers Dark Horse Comics Binge Guide scene in color series MGM concert Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt children's TV strong female leads Mary Poppins Returns spain AMC A&E 93rd Oscars Lifetime Christmas movies Amazon Prime WarnerMedia South by Southwest Film Festival teaser docudrama Star Wars Celebration HBO rom-coms MCU IFC 20th Century Fox Sony Black Mirror Sundance Now Amazon Studios Image Comics SundanceTV football Lucasfilm TV movies animated venice medical drama Best Director Alien The Walking Dead Legendary films free movies DGA President facebook king arthur comic book movies SXSW 2022 wonder woman Marvel Television Rocketman know your critic Crunchyroll Rom-Com 4/20 discovery Reality indiana jones Hallmark Christmas movies Emmys Country The Witch sports rt archives IFC Films werewolf cancelled television godzilla comic books Instagram Live Rock 72 Emmy Awards Britbox spider-man jurassic park young adult Focus Features true crime feel good Certified Fresh Prime Video batman TLC prank dragons Amazon Prime Video comic superhero Oscar scene in color genre theme song vampires Box Office PaleyFest quibi chucky witnail legend crime Mystery NYCC Superheroes police drama YA mockumentary Hulu X-Men