Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Cowboys and Aliens is All Mixed Up

Plus, The Smurfs has critics feeling blue, and Crazy, Stupid, Love is sharp and funny.

by | July 29, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got bronco-busters and extraterrestrials (Cowboys and Aliens, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford), little blue people (The Smurfs, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Katy Perry), and modern romance (Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling). What do the critics have to say?



Cowboys and Aliens

44%

What is Cowboys and Aliens? Is it a Western? A sci-fi thriller? An homage? A parody? Well, say critics, it’s all those things and more, though it’s not quite as seamless – or as fun – as one might have hoped, given the talents involved (and the B-movie promise of its undeniably awesome title). Daniel Craig stars as a mysterious man with no memory of his past who stumbles into a rough-and-tumble town called Absolution, where he’s treated with disdain by a tyrannical lawman (Harrison Ford). However, when hostile space invaders blast away at the community, they turn to the stranger for help. Critics say what could have been a giddy, action-packed romp is bogged down by serious tonal problems; though Cowboys and Aliens has a top-notch cast and moments of genre-bending fun, we’re never sure how seriously to take the action onscreen, and the result is an odd hybrid that never fully takes flight. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Craig’s best-reviewed films, as well as our gallery of movie genre mashups.)



The Smurfs

21%

Many a Gen-Xer has a soft spot for the Smurfs, those diminutive blue folks who enlivened our youthful Saturday mornings. Unfortunately, not all is smurfy in Smurfland; critics say the live action/ CGI hybrid The Smurfs is pretty thin stuff, an unfunny, less-than-thrilling family film with plenty of crass innuendo but almost no magic. Neil Patrick Harris stars as a New York workaholic who must help the Smurfs get back to their village – they’ve been chased out by their archenemy Gargamel, and they must navigate the Big Apple in the meantime. The pundits say The Smurfs feels like a nostalgic cash-grab, with a generic plot and little of the charm that made these elfin creatures appealing to begin with.



Crazy, Stupid, Love

79%

When it comes to romantic comedies, sometimes great acting can give shape to uneven material. Critics say that’s largely the case with Crazy, Stupid, Love, a fitfully rewarding effort enlivened by its star power. Steve Carell stars as a newly divorced middle-aged guy who hasn’t been on a date in years and has almost no way with the ladies. He ends up tagging along with a good-looking younger playboy (Ryan Gosling) and learning a thing or two about contemporary amour. The pundits say Crazy, Stupid, Love too often resorts to sitcommy scenarios, though it’s also insightful, funny, and occasionally quite touching, thanks to a cast that also includes Emma Stone and Julianne Moore.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Interrupters, a documentary about a group of “violence interrupters” who attempt to combat urban violence in Chicago, is at 100 percent.
  • The Guard, starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle in a dramedy about a gruff Irish policeman who teams with an incredulous FBI agent on a drug investigation, is at 93 percent (Check out our interview with Gleeson here).
  • Attack the Block, an action/comedy about a group of inner city London kids who defend the city against an alien invasion, is Certified Fresh at 91 percent.
  • The Future, directed by and starring Miranda July in the tale of an unmarried couple whose maturity is tested after adopting a stray cat, is at 91 percent.
  • Point Blank, a French thriller about a nurse who finds himself caught in the crossfire of rival gangsters as he attempts to save his kidnapped wife and child, is at 88 percent.
  • Sleep Furiously, a lyrical documentary about life in a Welsh farming community, is at 79 percent.
  • Good Neighbors, starring Scott Speedman and Jay Baruchel in a thriller about the residents of an apartment building who become fascinated with a series of local murders, is at 65 percent.
  • The Devil’s Double, starring Dominic Cooper in a dual role as Saddam Hussein’s hard-partying son Uday and as his reluctant body double, is at 61 percent.

Tag Cloud

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