Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Sherlock Holmes Is Worth Investigating

Plus, Alvin and Nine hit flat notes, It's Complicated is too simple, and Up in the Air is Certified Fresh.

by | December 23, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a legendary detective (Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law); matriculating rodents (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, starring David Cross and Jason Lee); a middle aged love triangle (It’s Complicated, starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin); turbulent business travel (Up in the Air, starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga); and a directionless director (Nine, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Penelope Cruz). What do the critics have to say?


Sherlock Holmes

Known for his hyperkinetic lad pictures, Guy Ritchie may not seem like an obvious choice to direct a Sherlock Holmes adaptation, given that 221B Baker St.’s most famous resident is a paragon of sophistication and stateliness. But a little Robert Downey Jr. goes a long way, critics say, and the star’s elementary appeal helps to draw us into this 21st century, action-packed update of the legendary detective. As Holmes, Downey is abetted by Jude Law, who plays his right hand man Watson; together, they must foil a plot to destroy Britain, while Holmes must deal with his favorite nemesis, the brilliant Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). The pundits say Sherlock Holmes maintains both the pulpy spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original short stories and the wittiness of its lead characters, and if the movie’s sometimes too high-octane for its own good, it still provides a cracking good time. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Law’s best-reviewed films.)


Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Alright everyone, sing along with me: “Christmas, Christmas time is near /Time for toys and time for cheer…” “The Chipmunk Song” is a holiday staple, but critics say the pint-sized trio’s latest seasonal offering — Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel — is far less likely to bring yuletide merriment. This time around, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are headed to high school, where they meet riot grrrls the Chipettes — now employed by the ‘Munks old enemy, Ian Hawke (David Cross). Can these two rodent bands find common ground — and save their school’s music program? The pundits say this Squeakquel is sure to please little kids, but adults may be less amused by the film’s lowbrow hi-jinks and general inanity.


It’s Complicated

With names like Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin on the marquee, you’d expect a film with a title like It’s Complicated to provide some smarter-than-average laughs. And critics say that while the cast does its best to elevate this movie, the results are more farcical — and predictable — than one would hope. Streep stars as Jane, whose ex-husband Jake (Baldwin) has remarried; at their son’s graduation, the two resume their love affair – which complicates things for Jane’s children and her new suitor Adam (Martin). The pundits say everything here is handled with plenty of professionalism, but It’s Complicated ultimately succumbs to sitcom conventions when it could have been something more.


Up in the Air

Jason Reitman‘s Certified Fresh Up in the Air has already thrilled critics and snared a number of award nominations, and this week it expands into wide release. George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, who has accumulated big frequent flyer mileage from his company, which tasks him with firing people in person. But when the corporation cuts back on travel, will Bingham still cross paths with a fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga)? The pundits say Up in the Air is styling, timely, and features magnificent performances.



It’s based on a hit Broadway musical (which is itself adapted from the Fellini classic 8 1/2). It’s loaded with Oscar winners. So what’s the matter with Nine? Well, critics say it lacks showstopping numbers, a strong narrative, and a sense of restraint. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as a film director who is in an artistic rut, so he turns to the women in his life, a group that includes Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, and Marion Cotillard, among others. The pundits say the cast acquits itself well enough on the vocal front, and the film has a couple dazzling moments, but ultimately, Nine is superficially flashy, hyperactively edited, and musically undistinguished.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

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