This week at the movies, we’ve got real American heroes (Act of Valor, starring Roselyn Sanchez and Alex Veadov), a wacky commune (Wanderlust, starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd), a soul-sick businessman (Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds, starring Tyler Perry and Thandie Newton), and a mysterious disappearance (Gone, starring Amanda Seyfried and Daniel Sunjata). What do the critics have to say?
Act of Valor is a fictionalized action film featuring real-life Navy SEALs, but critics say it’s not a particularly good one; it’s an over-adrenalized series of (literally) explosive set-pieces that never finds the humanity within these heroes. The film follows our most elite soldiers on a secret, globe-trotting mission to neutralize a terrorist threat; along the way, we learn a little about how the SEALs go about their business. No one can doubt the bravery and sacrifice of the Navy SEALs, but the pundits say the Act of Valor has more in common with video games like Call of Duty — its hyperkinetic action scenes bulldoze storytelling and character development, and we’re left with an odd, unsatisfying tribute to a group of patriots who deserve better.
If a movie simply makes us laugh, we’re likely to overlook its faults. Such is the case with Wanderlust — critics say this zany fish-out-of-water comedy isn’t the most disciplined film in the world, but it’s warm and often inspired in its absurdity. Facing financial ruin, George (Paul Rudd) and his wife Linda (Jennifer Aniston) leave the comfy environs of Manhattan to live with his brother in Atlanta. On the way, however, they stumble upon a commune and decide they kinda like it; ribald hilarity ensues. The pundits say Wanderlust isn’t much more than the sum of its parts, but those parts are often very funny, as the game cast works together to create moments of genuine lunacy.
As is often the case with Tyler Perry‘s films, Good Deeds was not screened for critics prior to its release. Perry stars as Wesley Deeds, a successful but dissatisfied businessman who snaps out of his rut after befriending Lindsey (Thandie Newton), an unlucky single mom who works in his building. Time to guess that Tomatometer!
It appears the people behind Gone feared that critics wouldn’t go along with their movie, since it didn’t screen before hitting theaters. Amanda Seyfried stars as Jill, who once escaped a kidnapping attempt. But now that her sister has been abducted, she suspects a serial killer is behind the crimes. Once again, guess the Tomatometer!
The Fairy, a Belgian comedy about a young woman who claims she can grant wishes, is at 100 percent.
The Forgiveness of Blood, a drama about a young man who’s caught in the middle of a blood feud between families in his small town, is at 83 percent.
Tomorrow, When the War Began, a thriller about a group of Australian teens who must defend their homeland against a surprise invasion, is at 64 percent.