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?



Paul

70%

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

84%

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

69%

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

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