Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Battleship Is All Wet

Plus, What to Expect When You're Expecting does the expected, and The Dictator generates vicious laughs.

by | May 17, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got nautical combat (Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna), pregnancy tribulations (What to Expect When You’re Expecting, starring Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz), and a displaced despot (The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Anna Faris). What do the critics have to say?



A big-budget blockbuster based upon a board game, Battleship all but promises empty-headed thrills. On that count, critics say, it succeeds, though they also note that a few mindlessly awesome set pieces can’t totally compensate for the film’s thuddingly silly script. Years after NASA has sent a message to a nearby planet, a group of alien ships visit earth — and they do not come in peace. A group of naval officers leads the charge against the invading armada, and explosions ensue. The pundits say Battleship is about as absurd as it sounds, and although some of the battles are pretty cool, the fun to be had here is of the guilty pleasure variety. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down memorable examples of cinematic naval triumphs..)

What to Expect When You’re Expecting


Since it was first published in 1984, the popular self-help book What to Expect When You’re Expecting has helped to guide women through the turbulent months of pregnancy. Unfortunately, the big screen version lacks the unpredictability of real life, stranding its talented cast in a sitcommy plot. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Dennis Quaid, and Chris Rock, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is the story of five interconnected couples dealing with a variety of pregnancy and childbirth-related issues, and it features plenty of spirited discussions from both male and female perspectives. The pundits say What to Expect contains occasional laughs fleeting moments of insight, but mostly, this all-star ensemble piece is strictly by-the-book.

The Dictator


With the gonzo documentaries Borat and Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen established himself as one of contemporary cinema’s most merciless satirists. Now he’s graduated to scripted comedy, and critics say that while The Dictator isn’t as outrageous or as teeth-clenchingly funny as Borat, it’s just funny and un-P.C. enough to prove that Cohen hasn’t gone soft. This loose remake of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator is the tale of an oppressive, buffoonish North African despot who survives a coup attempt that leaves him wandering the streets of New York City until a kindly hippie grocer (Anna Faris) takes a shine to him. The pundits say that not every joke in The Dictator works (and a few fall flat), but overall, the film provides enough gleeful tastelessness and sharp political observations to satisfy Cohen’s fans.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Elena, a Russian thriller about an estranged family plotting to take control of a large inheritance, is at 100 percent.
  • Indie Game: The Movie, a documentary about the development process behind independent video games, is at 100 percent.
  • Polisse, a drama about the professional and personal trials of Paris’ Child Protection Unit, is at 90 percent.
  • Beyond The Black Rainbow, a sci-fi/horror hybrid about a mute girl with psychic powers, is at 88 percent.
  • American Animal, a dramedy about two roommates whose friendship is tested when one decides to get a job, is at 83 percent.
  • Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog, a drama that follows a Labrador retriever from puppyhood to his days as a blind man’s companion, is at 77 percent.
  • Lovely Molly, a horror film about a recently married woman who discovers malevolent forces in her childhood home, is at 57 percent.
  • The Color Wheel, a road trip comedy about a pair of feuding siblings, is at 50 percent.
  • Hysteria, starring Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal in a period piece about the invention of the vibrator during the prudish Victorian era, is at 45 percent.
  • The Samaritan, starring Samuel L. Jackson in a thriller about an ex-con who finds the past difficult to shake, is at 35 percent.
  • Mansome, a documentary by Morgan Spurlock about men’s grooming habits, is at 20 percent.
  • Virginia, starring Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly in a drama about a single mother and her long-term extramarital affair with the town sheriff, is at zero percent.

Tag Cloud

docudrama APB true crime SundanceTV Disney streaming service YouTube Premium war YA Cosplay FX Shudder streaming See It Skip It science fiction richard e. Grant green book doctor who award winner CBS All Access Polls and Games TCA 2017 psychological thriller tv talk Amazon Prime Music Star Wars supernatural spider-man Spring TV ITV TCM mutant quibi Watching Series Sneak Peek politics ABC Family comic mockumentary Character Guide CW Seed Writers Guild of America period drama Rock Best and Worst Film Festival game show CMT Lucasfilm Marvel TLC anthology biography vampires Mary Poppins Returns Brie Larson zero dark thirty television 20th Century Fox dramedy Netflix Pet Sematary PaleyFest Animation social media Horror Extras Anna Paquin MCU crossover Thanksgiving RT21 space National Geographic Epix dceu MSNBC boxoffice Hulu A&E New York Comic Con Premiere Dates Drama Sony Pictures anime Stephen King TV Land RT History Fox News Video Games SXSW jamie lee curtis Britbox zombie Elton John 24 frames Acorn TV what to watch Showtime Paramount Network Tarantino Western ghosts Red Carpet crime thriller HBO Max Musicals crime drama cooking Valentine's Day Ovation DC Comics Creative Arts Emmys Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Opinion animated Disney Channel dragons Syfy BBC hist Quiz TIFF romance Election disaster Fantasy cinemax ESPN Trailer GIFs WGN Lifetime Nat Geo The Witch Toys adaptation Calendar adventure robots Photos E! sitcom Star Trek Holidays Countdown Box Office Sci-Fi USA talk show Grammys spinoff technology VICE 2015 justice league TCA singing competition psycho Dark Horse Comics Sundance cults political drama travel American Society of Cinematographers Reality Competition Trophy Talk Emmy Nominations BET DC Universe 2019 elevated horror HBO WarnerMedia discovery Adult Swim Set visit sequel TBS series Family Cannes cats Rocky MTV Mystery Country FXX toy story CNN natural history Spike GLAAD dc Reality The CW DGA spy thriller Esquire LGBT Action Starz Crackle Rom-Com Food Network strong female leads DC streaming service Logo Marathons Awards Tour miniseries Super Bowl USA Network blaxploitation 2017 CBS LGBTQ ratings 007 Women's History Month Song of Ice and Fire revenge 2018 unscripted Comics on TV festivals Paramount Infographic Warner Bros. casting cops Pirates book First Look movies IFC Films cars historical drama TV Musical NYCC golden globes Freeform Martial Arts Pride Month President medical drama transformers Apple Bravo History OWN teaser BBC America Tomatazos Pop ABC NBC Ellie Kemper Captain marvel Comic Book Heroines Lionsgate Emmys Columbia Pictures 2016 Superheroes Teen YouTube Red Shondaland Interview DirecTV Pixar aliens Christmas Tumblr Film IFC Masterpiece witnail Comedy Central AMC serial killer Awards Disney Mary poppins sports FOX Year in Review police drama Comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sundance Now E3 TNT Schedule 21st Century Fox X-Men thriller PBS El Rey GoT finale Vudu Oscars binge children's TV Amazon Prime Video diversity Nickelodeon Black Mirror Podcast Chernobyl 45 Universal Nominations Mary Tyler Moore The Arrangement Mudbound Winter TV Amazon Summer Trivia based on movie Cartoon Network kids facebook Kids & Family Superheroe Spectrum Originals VH1 zombies Walt Disney Pictures Rocketman Certified Fresh Biopics SDCC San Diego Comic-Con comiccon composers TruTV harry potter crime nature Winners Binge Guide Fall TV Ghostbusters theme song Mindy Kaling