Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Arthur Is On The Rocks

Plus, Hanna is Certified Fresh, while Your Highness and Soul Surfer miss the mark.

by | April 8, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an eccentric imbiber (Arthur, starring Russell Brand and Greta Gerwig); medieval mischief (Your Highness, starring James Franco and Natalie Portman); a teenage assassin (Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana); and a surfing survivor (Soul Surfer, starring AnnaSophia Robb and Dennis Quaid). What do the critics have to say?



I know it’s crazy, but it’s true: if you get caught between the moon and New York City, critics say you can probably do better than this remake of Arthur, which lacks the charm and wit of the 1981 original. Stepping into the shoes of the late Dudley Moore, Russell Brand stars as the whimsical, heavy-drinking hedonist whose irresponsible pursuit of pleasure threatens the good name of his staid family’s foundation. Arthur is told that he’s obligated to marry a woman he doesn’t particularly like (Jennifer Garner) or lose his inheritance — which is a problem, because he’s just fallen in love with a fellow free spirit (Greta Gerwig). The pundits say that Arthur has some decent gags and a nice supporting turn from the always-stellar Helen Mirren, but it mostly feels like an uninspired cover version of the original, and its protagonist — a frivolous rich guy with a drinking problem — seems a little outdated in our current economic climate.

Your Highness


Theoretically, Your Highness has a lot going for it: a couple of big stars (James Franco, Natalie Portman), an undeniably talented director (the onetime indie darling David Gordon Green), and a reasonably funny premise (medieval swashbuckling mixed with goofy, bawdy yuks). Unfortunately, the critics say the whole of Your Highness is hardly the sum of its parts; it’s a crass, undisciplined lark that gives the impression that its makers decided to film every wacky idea they came up with after a long night hitting the bong. Franco and Danny McBride star as a pair of hapless princes who go on a journey to rescue Franco’s kidnapped fiancée; soon, they’re joined in their quest by a mysterious warrior woman (Portman), who helps them vanquish all sorts of evil monsters. The pundits say Your Highness is a seriously weird movie, and while its sophomoric smuttiness is good for some occasional chuckles, it gets old pretty quickly. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Franco’s best-reviewed movies.)



Director Joe Wright made his name with a pair visually striking, widely-praised period romances (Pride and Prejudice and Atonement), so it’s understandable that he’d want to branch out. The result is the action-packed, skillfully crafted Hanna, which critics say is a film so energetic and dreamy that its lapses are largely forgiven. Saoirse Ronan stars as the title character, a 16-year-old whose father (Eric Bana) raised her in seclusion and taught her to become a soldier and a spy. But the real world is a scary place, and soon Hanna is on the run from the CIA and Cate Blanchett, who may have knowledge of the dark secrets in Hanna’s family’s past. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Hanna is a sleekly stylish mix of fairytales and espionage thrillers, featuring a remarkable performance from Ronan and enough mystery and depth to help you ignore the fact that the plot is mostly ludicrous.

Soul Surfer


Bethany Hamilton’s life is so remarkable that no work of fiction could do it justice: as a teenager, she was attacked by a shark while surfing and lost an arm, but she persevered and now surfs professionally. Unfortunately, Hollywood has a way of turning even the most incredible stories into feel-good blandness, and critics say that’s the problem with Soul Surfer, a well-crafted film that can’t rise above its melodramatic trappings. AnnaSophia Robb stars as Hamilton, a deeply religious surfing prodigy whose life is changed forever after a near fatal shark attack. However, you can’t keep a good girl down, and spurned on by loving parents and her faith in God, Hamilton works tirelessly to get back on the board. The pundits say Soul Surfer‘s action scenes are remarkable, but the film follows the inspirational movie playback too closely, and softpeddles both Hamilton’s Christianity and her painful struggles in an attempt to broaden its appeal.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

Marvel dceu National Geographic streaming rotten movies we love Comic Book spain Television Critics Association Arrowverse Lucasfilm Netflix children's TV best FX on Hulu christmas movies History anime parents VICE ABC Family The Witch AMC Black History Month Esquire cancelled TV series science fiction Polls and Games Turner Tumblr biography justice league Toys diversity animated mockumentary Teen CBS ABC GoT romantic comedy Shondaland YA Freeform The Arrangement cats south america discovery Hulu Red Carpet disaster PBS Sundance Now DGA facebook nbcuniversal Star Trek cancelled war Star Wars 2017 MCU laika aliens Watching Series Christmas witnail 24 frames anthology Ellie Kemper video cinemax Awards Tour asian-american chucky obituary Western Oscars ITV Animation doctor who batman casting X-Men spanish language reviews Apple cars TLC BET Awards transformers space Holidays Box Office Valentine's Day police drama stop motion Photos Sci-Fi Epix criterion El Rey HBO Max Stephen King vampires Musical USA talk show Fox News DC Universe Columbia Pictures Character Guide Netflix Christmas movies elevated horror TCA Awards NYCC satire game of thrones stand-up comedy DC Comics IFC Mindy Kaling crossover LGBTQ TCA Winter 2020 Countdown DC streaming service Disney+ Disney Plus Mary Tyler Moore Paramount CMT Captain marvel period drama 71st Emmy Awards First Look FX Apple TV Plus documentaries blockbuster Brie Larson festivals romance Superheroes cooking YouTube Red 2016 Podcast comics Crackle worst Spike VH1 cancelled television zero dark thirty Amazon Studios CBS All Access Pirates 72 Emmy Awards canceled TV shows social media kids YouTube Acorn TV Song of Ice and Fire Hallmark Christmas movies DirecTV Marvel Studios joker independent BAFTA television Fall TV dark Food Network Martial Arts richard e. Grant golden globes films true crime robots Marathons dogs twilight HBO Go Black Mirror tv talk Film Festival Opinion WarnerMedia CNN The Purge crime thriller Premiere Dates sag awards Best and Worst politics Writers Guild of America GLAAD Rock Nat Geo Film VOD Walt Disney Pictures universal monsters Bravo spinoff A24 YouTube Premium Interview Warner Bros. Mudbound Amazon Prime Video Drama Lifetime Christmas movies zombie Family Dark Horse Comics dragons Women's History Month SXSW mutant Election Disney Channel Universal cancelled TV shows 4/20 Holiday werewolf Funimation WGN Peacock TIFF Rocky crime drama Chernobyl stoner Thanksgiving Showtime BET 21st Century Fox 2015 BBC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The CW Binge Guide OneApp Disney streaming service child's play crime RT History Nickelodeon SundanceTV indiana jones Amazon what to watch Music SDCC Cosplay Nominations thriller TCA 2017 Schedule Extras Disney Plus President dramedy Endgame emmy awards Pixar TCM 20th Century Fox San Diego Comic-Con technology Turner Classic Movies toy story Horror documentary LGBT screenings BBC One Mystery jamie lee curtis die hard Marvel Television Reality Competition TruTV Comedy Central psychological thriller Trophy Talk teaser revenge psycho Grammys Shudder Creative Arts Emmys Kids & Family historical drama IFC Films hist See It Skip It New York Comic Con FXX free movies Winners renewed TV shows Pride Month 007 halloween Rocketman Sneak Peek all-time TV Land Comics on TV BBC America Logo Ovation Ghostbusters sitcom Superheroe hispanic Country mission: impossible Pop classics A&E The Walking Dead Biopics blaxploitation Avengers travel medical drama news dc TNT Vudu versus Travel Channel Pop TV MTV Cartoon Network latino Syfy Comedy comic GIFs TCA Paramount Network Mary Poppins Returns spy thriller series game show serial killer Infographic adaptation award winner PaleyFest cartoon TV renewals nature Sundance Heroines First Reviews Spectrum Originals canceled Lifetime green book hollywood directors Awards binge Adult Swim 2019 Tubi cults PlayStation Apple TV+ Emmy Nominations Certified Fresh E! breaking bad Sony Pictures Starz Video Games Baby Yoda composers MSNBC finale Masterpiece Spring TV comiccon quibi Crunchyroll strong female leads Anna Paquin foreign Discovery Channel Tarantino APB miniseries video on demand Summer adventure Academy Awards political drama TBS Elton John Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ratings movie Winter TV harry potter Trivia OWN boxoffice Emmys spider-man sports Super Bowl a nightmare on elm street ghosts concert slashers movies Sundance TV FOX Quiz natural history theme song Tomatazos Set visit American Society of Cinematographers comedies Amazon Prime Television Academy critics Rom-Com Reality Mary poppins Calendar unscripted Year in Review docudrama superhero franchise Musicals Cannes indie ESPN E3 singing competition cops NBC Lionsgate based on movie book supernatural Hallmark CW Seed Hear Us Out USA Network sequel Action 2020 reboot scary movies HBO Pet Sematary screen actors guild rotten 2018 Disney zombies RT21 Trailer Classic Film name the review 45 Fantasy TV Britbox fast and furious