Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Semi-Pro is Semi-Good, Boleyn Girl Not Quite Movie Royalty

Plus: Penelope tries hard, but doesn't quite enchant.

by | February 28, 2008 | Comments

This week
at the movies, we’ve got hapless hoopsters (Semi-Pro, starring
Will
Ferrell
, Woody Harrelson, and
Andre Benjamin), snouted socialites (Penelope,
starring Christina Ricci
and James McAvoy), and scandalous siblings (The Other Boleyn Girl,
starring Natalie Portman,
Scarlett Johansson, and
Eric Bana). What do the
critics have to say?

Will
Ferrell has made a mini-career for himself yuking it up in wacky sports
comedies. Some, like


Talladega Nights
and
Blades
of Glory
, were
winners with the critics, while others (Kicking and Screaming, anyone?)
have fallen below the Mendoza Line. It appears the pundits are putting his
latest, Semi-Pro, in the latter category. Ferrell stars as Jackie Moon,
the owner of a struggling American Basketball Association (yep, the league with
the red, white, and blue ball) squad that’s on the verge of folding; worse, the
NBA may soon buy the only solvent ABA squads, so the team has to start winning
in a hurry. The pundits say that while Semi-Pro offers occasional laughs,
its shooting percentage isn’t all that high; it’s never as deliriously funny as
it should be, and sags under the weight of too much sentiment. At 23 percent
on the Tomatometer, Semi-Pro is looking as pretty as a Ben Wallace free
throw.




"So you guys will watch this but not Brothers Solomon?
Come on!"

A lonely
lass with a swine’s schnoz, Penelope (Christina Ricci) isn’t your average girl.
And the scribes say Penelope isn’t your average movie
— and despite
moments of enchantment, this modern-day fairy tale is something of a mixed bag.
Penelope is a poor little rich girl who suffers from a strange curse: she’s got
a pig snout, and can only be saved by the proper suitor. The critics say Penelope
is never short on whimsy and charm, but it’s uneven and a little short on magic.
It’s currently at 55 percent on the Tomatometer. (Check out our inventory of
fairy tales for grownups here.)




Penelope getting ready to practice some American Ninja moves.

The Other Boleyn Girl has all the makings of a juicy tale of period intrigue: a
love triangle, political machinations, and a stellar cast. Unfortunately,
critics say the film can’t quite put all the pieces together. Based upon the
bestseller by Philippa Gregory, Boleyn is the story of two sisters
(Natalie Portman and
Scarlett Johansson)
vying for the ardor of the King of England (Eric Bana) — and finding themselves in a romantic tug-of-war that
threatens to destabilize the nation. The pundits say the movie looks terrific,
and the plot has intrinsic interest, but Boleyn ends up devolving into
over-plotted, melodramatic territory while leaving certain elements of its plot
underdeveloped. At 45 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics aren’t quite in
love with this Girl.




“Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo, so long ago when there was nothing but our love.”

Also
opening this week in limited release:

  • Chop
    Shop
    , the story of a 12-year-old orphan fending for himself in gritty New
    York City, is at 88 percent.


  • Beyond
    Belief
    , a doc about a pair of Boston women who travel to Afghanistan after
    their husbands are killed by terrorism, is at 80 percent.

  • Chicago
    10
    , which combines documentary footage and animation to tell the story of
    the riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, is at 78 percent (check out
    our take from Sundance
    here).

  • The
    Unforeseen
    , a doc about the fragile balance between home-ownership and the
    environment, is at 75 percent.

  • City
    of Men
    , the follow-up to
    City of God
    , about a group of youngsters
    growing up amidst the drug trade in Rio, is at 71 percent.

  • Bonneville,
    a road movie starring
    Jessica Lange,
    Kathy Bates, and
    Joan Allen, is at 45
    percent.

  • Vivere,
    the story of three desperate women on the run, is at 40 percent.

 




"Cool, we can make our 80 million margaritas out here."
 

And
finally, props to
Splendidisolation,
man in the water,
I am evil homer,
kubla,
ilovetacobell,
bwozar07, and
Pilgermann, who all, ahem, got ‘er done by
successfully guessing that
Witless Protection
would earn a big zero
percent Tomatometer. Good to see some folks around these parts aren’t totally
lacking in wit.
 

Recent
Will Ferrell Movies:

————————————

44% —
The
Wendell Baker Story
(2007)

69% —
Blades
of Glory
(2007)

73% —
Stranger
than Fiction
(2006)

72% —

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
(2006)

41% —
Winter
Passing
(2006)

Recent
Christina Ricci Movies:

————————————–

66% —
Black
Snake Moan
(2007)

23% —
Home
of the Brave
(2006)

20% —
The Gathering (2006)

23% —
I
Love Your Work
(2005)

16% —
Cursed

(2005)

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