Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: 9 Looks Great, But The Plot's Weak

Plus, Sorority Row is so-so, Whiteout is snowed in, and guess the Bad Tomatometer.

by | September 10, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got post-apocalyptic conflict (9, with voice work by Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly ); Antarctic intrigue (Whiteout, starring Kate Beckinsale and Gabriel Macht ); campus killings (Sorority Row, starring Briana Evigan and Rumer Willis ), and an unconventional family (I Can Do Bad All By Myself, starring Taraji P. Henson and Tyler Perry). What do the critics have to say?



Visual splendor does not necessarily a movie make. The critics say 9 looks unlike anything you’ve seen before, but the story’s mired in cliché. The film follows 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood), who’s an anthropomorphic hodgepodge of mechanics and cloth. Occupying a vast apocalyptic wasteland ruled by machines, 9 and his numerically-monikered compatriots team up to save the world from robot-kind. The pundits say Shane Acker is a brilliant cinematic stylist, and his CGI creation is dazzling and detailed. Unfortunately, others say 9‘s story doesn’t match the power of its images; it’s relatively generic stuff, and the characters aren’t very well-developed.



Whiteout has an intriguing premise: it’s a murder mystery set in the desolate, unforgiving climes of Antarctica. Unfortunately, the intrigue stops there; critics say Whiteout is nearly barren of thrills. Kate Beckinsale stars as a federal agent who must investigate a murder at the South Pole, and discovers there are even more sinister goings-on buried deep in the snow. The pundits say Whiteout is bogged down by red herrings and other whodunit conventions. Worse, there’s little energy to the performances or the filmmaking. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of the best movies set in Antarctica.)


Sorority Row

Sorority Row advertises itself as a cross between Mean Girls and Scream — which, going by the critics who’ve seen it (it was barely screened) is a bit of an exaggeration. That being said, some say this slasher flick is a little funnier and scarier than it looks. This quasi-remake of The House on Sorority Row finds a group of sorority girls who unintentionally kill a fellow sister – and find that the past comes back to haunt them. The pundits say Sorority Row is pretty generic, but it’s executed with a little more flair than average.


I Can Do Bad All By Myself

We’ll need some time to determine if Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself lives up to its title, since the movie wasn’t screened for critics prior to release. Noted scene-stealer Taraji P. Henson stars as a hard-living nightclub singer who finds herself caring for her troubled nieces and nephews – and perhaps learning something in the process. Kids, guess that Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Crude, a documentary about the “Amazon Chernobyl,” a cause célèbre among environmentalists, is at 89 percent.

  • No Impact Man, a doc about the trials of a family that attempts to eliminate its impact on the environment, is at 85 percent.

  • Walt and El Grupo, a doc about Walt Disney‘s fruitful 1941 tour of South America, is at 80 percent.

  • The Other Man, starring Liam Neeson and Antonio Banderas in the tale of a man who sets out to find the man his wife had an affair with, is at 23 percent.

  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, starring Michael Douglas and Amber Tamblyn in a thriller about a prosecutor who’s under investigation for evidence tampering, is at zero percent.

  • Finally, props to Splitter for coming the cloeset to Guessing Gamer‘s 22 percent Tomatometer.

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