Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Paul Is Sweet Sci-Fi Fun

Plus, The Lincoln Lawyer is Certified Fresh, and Limitless has its limits.

by | March 18, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a close encounter (Paul, starring Simon Pegg and Seth Rogen); some rough justice (The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey and Marisa Tomei), and an experimental drug (Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro). What do the critics have to say?



Simon Pegg’s filmography is littered with expert genre parodies (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), and director Greg Mottola is known for mixing big laughs with poignancy and intelligence. And although their new effort, Paul, may not live up to their previous work, critics say it’s an amiable, sweet road comedy that smartly sends up sci-fi references. Pegg stars as a fanboy who’s on a tour of America’s UFO landmarks along with his mate Nick Frost when he meets Paul (voiced by Seth Rogan), a crass, smart-mouthed little green man. With the Feds in hot pursuit, it’s up to our heroes to transport their alien pal to his intergalactic craft. The pundits say Paul isn’t the most disciplined comedy on the block, but it’s witty, warm, and smarter than your average road-trip romp.

The Lincoln Lawyer


Matthew McConaughey’s big break as a leading man came with the 1996 adaptation of John Grisham’s A Time To Kill (not to mention Amistad the following year). So it’s nice to see him back in the courtroom, and critics say The Lincoln Lawyer is a good old-fashioned legal thriller with some interesting twists and an excellent performance from its star. McConaughey stars as a somewhat sketchy defense attorney who’s just landed the case of his career when he’s brought in to defend a millionaire bad boy (Ryan Phillippe). Soon, however, our protagonist discovers that not everything is as it seems. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Lincoln Lawyer won’t set the world on fire, but it’s skillfully made and entertaining, and it greatly benefits from a stellar cast. (Take a look at Phillippe’s Five Favorite Films.)



Limitless takes the concept of the Faustian bargain and gives it a contemporary spin: what if a revolutionary pharmaceutical could help you reach your full potential? It’s an interesting idea, but critics say the movie only partially fulfills it — it’s smart and slick, but also occasionally haphazard and frustrating. Bradley Cooper stars as a struggling writer who’s encouraged by a friend to try an untested miracle drug; soon, his brain is running on all cylinders and making big bucks on Wall Street. However, the drug has some serious side effects, and sinister forces want to get their hands on Cooper’s stash. The pundits say Limitless is stylishly directed and well performed, but in raising so many intriguing questions without answering them, the film can feel like a missed opportunity. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down Limitless star Robert De Niro’s Best Movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Nostalgia for the Light, a documentary about a research team in Chile’s investigations into big questions, is at 100 percent.
  • Bill Cunningham New York, a doc about the legendary New York Times fashion photographer, is at 91 percent.
  • Win Win, starring Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan in a comedy about a wrestling coach who ends up caring for a runaway, is at 89 percent.
  • Winter in Wartime, a drama about a youngster aiding the Resistance in Nazi-occupied Holland, is at 85 percent.
  • The Music Never Stopped, a drama about a father who attempts to treat his son’s brain ailment with music, is at 72 percent.
  • The Butcher, The Chef And The Swordsman, an action comedy about a butcher knife forged from the remains of legendary swords, is at 60 percent.
  • Desert Flower, the tale of a Somali woman who escaped an arranged marriage to become a model, is at 44 percent.
  • Cracks, starring Eva Green in a drama about jealousy and obsession at a remote all-girls boarding school, is at 39 percent.

Finally, want to win a Rotten Tomatoes shirt? First, watch a movie opening this week. Then, on Sunday, tweet your review and tag it #fresh or #rotten. We’ll choose 10 winners! Check us out on Twitter!

Tag Cloud

Rocky indie football Starz Opinion Nickelodeon news Acorn TV trailers Fantasy dragons archives movie Western latino nature international spanish language Cannes CW Seed mission: impossible 21st Century Fox Apple Summer films A24 zero dark thirty Logo james bond Paramount Marvel king arthur emmy awards SundanceTV BAFTA dreamworks Superheroe ID TLC breaking bad theme song nbcuniversal DC Comics YouTube Premium VH1 2018 TV One hidden camera Red Carpet 4/20 werewolf spy thriller Walt Disney Pictures serial killer heist movie Tomatazos Star Trek HBO Max The CW book adaptation game of thrones Mary Tyler Moore justice league National Geographic Writers Guild of America dc Spike ITV Academy Awards Pride Month binge E! christmas movies Elton John Disney+ Disney Plus Heroines Lifetime Christmas movies TV Land versus The Purge independent sequels Lucasfilm NYCC YouTube Red Thanksgiving CNN FXX Calendar Discovery Channel Kids & Family die hard basketball golden globe awards docuseries unscripted MSNBC stop motion PaleyFest politics singing competition Sony Pictures Pop TV best comiccon mutant Netflix See It Skip It DC Universe talk show movies TBS Rock facebook rt archives ABC Signature WGN comedies Binge Guide debate halloween Tokyo Olympics Peacock Ovation USA Network scary political drama action-comedy documentary reviews 93rd Oscars cancelled TV series FX on Hulu medical drama prank psychological thriller 2015 Awards rt labs italian RT History Holidays Trailer fast and furious Television Critics Association Marvel Television Mystery Premiere Dates TV Rom-Com sports Tubi feel good Ellie Kemper BET Awards japanese franchise YA Wes Anderson CMT Travel Channel Exclusive Video crossover anime Arrowverse cancelled TV shows art house Emmy Nominations Television Academy Mary Poppins Returns sag awards Animation Disney Plus Musical series tv talk fresh Bravo worst movies The Arrangement based on movie target Box Office saw Grammys Image Comics cults rotten Stephen King Pacific Islander child's play travel cartoon crime drama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt marvel comics Sci-Fi canceled ratings batman ViacomCBS Christmas Alien Sundance Now Tumblr Martial Arts TCA Awards Turner Trivia zombies screen actors guild universal monsters japan Reality Competition chucky wonder woman space First Reviews X-Men hollywood Food Network spain Extras Showtime spanish TCA 2017 dramedy nfl dexter australia Superheroes canceled TV shows Teen Comic Book docudrama adventure First Look slashers Chilling Adventures of Sabrina kong Holiday Lifetime satire OWN Winners aliens adaptation 2017 directors ABC Apple TV Plus rt labs critics edition History olympics Disney streaming service war Quiz scorecard 73rd Emmy Awards 90s sequel laika 2016 Video Games twilight concert aapi french Hear Us Out FOX a nightmare on elm street asian-american live event TCA TCM vs. hispanic ABC Family mockumentary free movies DC streaming service IFC Films cars MTV foreign scene in color green book quibi Adult Swim Crunchyroll cats 71st Emmy Awards robots E3 The Walking Dead Universal superman genre book Esquire Shudder cops stoner Election supernatural Dark Horse Comics 45 BBC hispanic heritage month Amazon Studios stand-up comedy razzies mob kids rotten movies we love ESPN historical drama diversity Set visit Captain marvel jamie lee curtis The Academy Paramount Network WarnerMedia HBO Go dogs telelvision Comedy police drama BET joker what to watch OneApp Best and Worst elevated horror Anna Paquin Paramount Plus IFC biography crime kaiju RT21 Turner Classic Movies anthology all-time indiana jones Cosplay Oscars Sundance San Diego Comic-Con NBA Lionsgate cooking CBS Character Guide godzilla scary movies Chernobyl Broadway young adult Pixar criterion Pet Sematary high school Countdown Interview name the review Baby Yoda zombie vampires Spectrum Originals Pirates toy story Vudu Netflix Christmas movies new zealand Disney Channel Epix screenings Masterpiece casting Avengers ghosts Spring TV Biopics crime thriller The Walt Disney Company DGA Disney Crackle TIFF Mindy Kaling Warner Bros. comic book movie disaster suspense women VOD comic king kong LGBTQ Women's History Month sopranos Photos AMC Marathons venice AMC Plus biopic boxoffice 2020 pirates of the caribbean Nominations critics Britbox critic resources Year in Review Comedy Central mcc Polls and Games renewed TV shows award winner Marvel Studios Winter TV reboot superhero video on demand blockbusters Instagram Live New York Comic Con Infographic psycho LGBT black comedy harry potter Action comic book movies Ghostbusters Valentine's Day Sundance TV Hallmark PBS Freeform gangster composers festival halloween tv Apple TV+ Rocketman 2021 adenture spider-verse know your critic Horror thriller VICE Song of Ice and Fire DirecTV Black Mirror Sneak Peek golden globes miniseries obituary Classic Film finale video Fox News doctor who A&E Cartoon Network Hallmark Christmas movies Drama television TruTV cancelled television Brie Larson discovery parents streaming slasher south america richard e. Grant legend Amazon Prime Video GIFs streaming movies Amazon IMDb TV Music American Society of Cinematographers USA lord of the rings Endgame Schedule spinoff SXSW live action 72 Emmy Awards Musicals technology comic books Comics on TV animated HBO romance Podcast natural history cancelled festivals new star wars movies Trophy Talk TCA Winter 2020 BBC America jurassic park teaser Mary poppins transformers TV movies popular spider-man GLAAD boxing Family El Rey Funimation dceu black Hulu The Witch NBC science fiction marvel cinematic universe royal family Certified Fresh FX 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards game show Syfy posters Columbia Pictures 2019 PlayStation sitcom Film Festival Nat Geo Legendary Universal Pictures Watching Series deadpool 007 CBS All Access children's TV revenge Amazon Prime Creative Arts Emmys dark remakes worst witnail Star Wars 24 frames strong female leads cinemax Black History Month TNT Neflix toronto Film GoT blaxploitation Shondaland 20th Century Fox 1990s Toys documentaries blockbuster new york BBC One Fall TV monster movies YouTube Tarantino Mudbound Awards Tour Reality romantic comedy President Country SDCC social media 99% Comic-Con@Home 2021 rom-coms comics Fox Searchlight Emmys TV renewals APB classics hist period drama Pop MCU true crime Super Bowl