America is going green this week: "Shrek the Third" (featuring the voices of Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas) is our single new wide release. Critics loved the first two, how do they feel about this one?
Shrek’s third outing finds our green antihero in an unusual predicament: the king has died, and Shrek is next in line to ascend to the throne. Typically, he wants nothing of it and must set off to find a replacement. Hijinks, fart jokes, and ironic postmodern deconstruction ensue. But critics say "Third" has gone too far with the "Shrek" formula: it relies too heavily on pop culture references and fairy tale spoofs, marginalizing the heart and charm that made the first two classics. Also, the sheer amount of new and returning characters has given the best characters – Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona – the least screen time in any "Shrek" yet. "Shrek the Third" is at 42 percent, a far cry from "Shrek"’s and "Shrek 2"’s 89 and 88 percent Tomatometers, respectively.
And opening in limited release: "Once," a crowd-pleasing drama about two street musicians (check out our interview with director John Carney), is at 100 percent; "Severance," a British import of shock horror and droll comedy, is at 74 percent; "Brooklyn Rules," a drama set in the titular borough circa 1985, is at 56 percent; "Flanders," the new art pic from festival fave Bruno Dumont, is at 50 percent; "The Wendell Baker Story," a light-hearted drama featuring possibly more Wilson Brothers than we’re equipped to handle, is at 40 percent; "Fay Grim," the new action/thriller/comedy from quirky auteur Hal Hartley, is at 40 percent; "Even Money," a cautionary tale about the ills of gambling, is at 20 percent; and "The Last Sin Eater," the second release of Fox Faith’s Christian parable, is at 20 percent.
And medals, commendations, and accolades to unbreakable_samurai and SplendidIsolation who both came closest to guessing "Delta Farce"’s three percent Tomatometer last week. We, too, were surprised by its extraordinarily high rating.