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

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