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

WGN Sneak Peek Rocky Disney Channel Spike cops travel Mystery E3 Nominations Toys SDCC Superheroes VICE Comic Book DC Universe Awards 007 sitcom Trivia thriller YouTube Red ABC crime thriller BBC America aliens binge 2016 politics crime Dark Horse Comics USA DC Comics vampires Martial Arts Mary Tyler Moore Music biography docudrama Drama A&E Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TV talk show social media Musicals Best and Worst El Rey FOX Fall TV IFC Films TCA 2017 CW Seed spy thriller Premiere Dates RT History BET FX war comiccon Mindy Kaling adventure Writers Guild of America Year in Review 21st Century Fox crime drama Kids & Family Warner Bros. Countdown Hulu NYCC medical drama Video Games cats 24 frames Valentine's Day Horror Holidays TCA PaleyFest Reality LGBTQ The CW historical drama psycho Fantasy Lucasfilm Emmys political drama Adult Swim Lifetime period drama First Look Certified Fresh Cartoon Network CNN transformers NBC Teen Rock harry potter History discovery boxoffice GoT technology Esquire Watching Series BBC singing competition MTV Comedy cooking 45 Tumblr APB Sundance Now Election TCM Britbox what to watch Reality Competition supernatural dceu Sundance dc VH1 Action Winter TV science fiction USA Network Netflix Masterpiece Winners ESPN Box Office Grammys cinemax Nickelodeon Marathons Creative Arts Emmys Lionsgate ratings IFC Food Network FXX Universal Podcast Photos President X-Men unscripted Musical Ghostbusters cults Sci-Fi Superheroe composers Nat Geo CMT Tomatazos Summer Pop golden globes Paramount HBO dramedy GIFs OWN CBS All Access Marvel Christmas TIFF CBS sports Extras Disney Opinion Ellie Kemper Logo diversity Polls and Games AMC DC streaming service Amazon Fox News ITV Super Bowl Paramount Network zombie TV Land Syfy E! DirecTV Pixar police drama Freeform Schedule TBS SundanceTV Rom-Com Sony Pictures Infographic 2017 The Arrangement serial killer ABC Family Pirates Western Cosplay romance Starz Red Carpet Animation Star Trek Set visit Star Wars TruTV Interview Biopics Trailer Oscars Crackle See It Skip It TNT Acorn TV based on movie American Society of Cinematographers YA Calendar 20th Century Fox Spring TV Showtime justice league Bravo Comedy Central Thanksgiving PBS Country GLAAD 2015 Character Guide MSNBC TLC