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

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